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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Proverbs 3:13-18

Proverbs 3:13-18 (KJV) 13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

Proverbs 3:13-18 (NLT) 13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.

"Some connect these words with the preceding (verses); as if the sense was, a good man, though he is chastened by the Lord, yet is a happy man; not only because his chastenings are in love and for good, but because he improves in spiritual knowledge and understanding by them" - Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible (parenthesis mine)

Although this statement from Gill's is correct. It begins to go even deeper as we shall see. Wisdom, although described as a feminine form, is akin to Jesus Christ. We have talked about Wisdom meaning a godly wisdom, not just facts, knowledge and human intelligence. What is the greatest godly wisdom? Knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Let's read Gill's further comments...

"But rather the argument in praise of wisdom, and the advantages of it, insisted on in the preceding chapter, is resumed here and enlarged upon; and by wisdom is meant Christ, and a saving knowledge of him by means of his Gospel; and 'finding' him supposes seeking him; which does not arise from nature, but the grace of God, and follows upon the sight of the need and worth of Christ; and is done in the use of means, as reading, praying, and attendance on the word and ordinances: and finding him is no other than an enjoyment of him by faith; which is a seeing him, a taking hold on him, and possessing him; who is to be found in the covenant of grace, being the Mediator, surety, and messenger of it; in the Gospel, which is full of him; in the promises of it, which hold him forth, and the blessings of his grace; in the ordinances, which direct unto him, and where he shows himself: for he is not to be found by the light of nature, nor by carnal reason, nor by the law of Moses; but by means of the Gospel, attended with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; and a happy finding this, which fills the possessor with inexpressible joy! see John 1:41;
and the man that getteth understanding; Christ, and a spiritual understanding of him: this is not a proper acquisition of a man's own; an interest in Christ is not gotten by anything of man's; not by his good works, which are the fruits of grace; nor by faith and repentance, which are gifts of grace themselves; but it is given unto a man: and 'getting' here signifies, as before, possession and enjoyment of Christ, as God's pure gift; as a man that is said to obtain the favour of God, when he enjoys it, and the effects of it, in consequence of finding Christ, Proverbs 8:35; where the same word is used as here. The word signifies to 'draw out' (t); as metals are drawn out of the earth by searching and digging for, or as water out of a well; thus Christ, and the knowledge of him, are drawn out of the mines and fountains of the Scriptures, by such that seek after him aright. Aben Ezra interprets it, that draws or brings it out from another, and learns it; the true believer in Christ hears and learns of the Father, and so comes to Christ, and enjoys him, John 6:45." - Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

So we can take it that godly wisdom can practically aid us in our lives. If we practise godly wisdom we have better health in mind, body and spirit and now we see it can affect us according to prosperity and this can be in mind, body and spirit. If we consult with God and continually pursue Him and His wisdom, it should show up in making good decisions in our life which can benefit us physically, emotionally, spiritually and materially.

Does that mean, if I pray for God's wisdom, I'll be rich!?! Not necessarily, and by asking the question we show our lack of godly wisdom. (Been there, got the t-shirt!)  Yes, it will help us to make better financial decisions. If we use godly wisdom to avoid sins and temptations, it should help us financially. For instance, if you don't fall into the temptation of taking drugs, you have benefitted your pocketbook because drugs cost money. And the more drugs you take, the more it costs you. Finally you lose your job because of your drug use and you aren't making an income but still have the drug habit. Then you begin stealing and you get caught. It costs money to go through the legal system and you don't have any so you go to jail.

Another example, having sex outside of marriage can lead to unwanted pregnancies. Abortions can cost you. So can having a child out of wedlock. Single women raising one, or more, children face a lot of financial hardship and their children can face the consequences of financial hardship. It takes money to pursue a biological father for child support in the legal system. And many deadbeat dads learn how to evade the system so they don't pay child support anyway. That leaves a lot of single mothers with children who have to make it on their own and/or receive government assistance (innocent taxpayers paying for your mistakes).

A child is a human being made by God, designed and crafted with great love and having God's breath of life in them. So I don't, in any way, mean a child is a throwaway, a burden, or a curse. And, I don't condone abortion. That just complicates your sin and the consequences are deeper. A child may have been unplanned, but once it's conceived, it is a blessing from God and God can redeem all the circumstances of his/her conception. That innocent child had no control over how it was conceived. In most cases, you can control your sexual activity, but the child did not. God does not hold that child responsible for your sins. That is between you and God and He is a loving and forgiving God. At any time, you can go to Him and repent and He forgives! Then all of it is under the blood of Jesus. You will still have consequences to deal with, but God is with you to redeem all the consequences and turn them into something wonderful and miraculous! Let's say you do struggle financially because you had a child out of wedlock. But God uses your financial struggles to positively affect that child. When they grow up they are careful to be responsible adults and make good choices. They want their children to grow up in a stable family without suffering lack so they work hard. Or they even make use of their education to help others who struggle. We never know how God will redeem a messed up situation, we just know He will if we repent and turn it over to Him.

I know a woman who was born to a mother who had multiple children with multiple partners and husbands. This woman didn't even know her real biological father until she was an adult. The man she thought was her biological father wasn't. She knew great financial hardship growing up. But you won't find a harder working woman, a more godly woman, in this world. Through her relationship with Jesus Christ, she was able to let go of things that would embitter most of us and she has been physically, emotionally and spiritually healthier for it. She learned how to forgive and have a good relationship with her mother, how to develop good relationships with her full and half siblings, and how to overcome insecurities based on her childhood. She took advantage of her public education and was able to go to college. She worked at jobs that many would have turned their nose up at, in order to go to college. She made good decisions in college and was able to get a great job when she graduated. She kept that job for many years and moved up in it. Then she got a better job and kept it and moved up in it too. Now she is in a different job but doing very well and has moved into a new home that she loves. This is God in action, people! He took a bad situation and used it for her good! She wasn't responsible for her mother's bad choices although she suffered because of them. But God took that suffering and made her into a shining star, a testimony to what He can do! God loves her, has His hand upon her and has been with her throughout all the troubles and problems of her life. He knew she would be one who would seek Him and be His child so He made doubly sure to craft everything in her environment to shape her into the godly woman she has become! It hasn't come easy to her, but it's all been used to make her a jewel of a woman!

Sex outside of marriage can lead to sexual addictions, sexually transmitted diseases, heartbreaks and heartaches, divorces, child support and alimony, etc. All of these consequences are expensive in the long run. You pay for prostitutes, you pay for porn, you pay for legal expenses, you pay for medicine and treatment, you pay for counseling, etc.

If you listen to godly wisdom and don't fall for temptations to sin, you will have saved yourself some money (and a lot of other consequences as well).

It's not all about money, of course. You are enriched emotionally, physically and spiritually when you use godly wisdom. But how do you get "godly wisdom"? You have to have a relationship with God and keep it fresh. You want to learn about Him, so read your Bible. You want to talk to Him, so pray. You want to praise and worship Him, so pull up some praise and worship music and begin singing. You want to practise His presence, so work on your spiritual exercises. Be open to learn from Him and the Holy Spirit within you will gladly pour godly wisdom into you.

But, as I pointed out earlier, the ultimate Wisdom is Jesus Christ and His salvation and lordship. He is the One who is worth more than any earthly silver and gold. He is the greatest treasure and richest prize. It is only in Him that you find eternal life in Heaven and what is that worth to you? To me, it's worth everything!

Here are some songs, choruses, hymns that express the riches of Christ:

You Are by Darlene Zschech, Ron Kenoly, Hillsong United

You are the love of my life.
You are the hope that I cling to.
You mean more than this world to me.

I wouldn't trade you for silver or gold.
I wouldn't trade you for riches untold.
You are, you are my everything.

I wouldn't take one step without you,
I could never go on.
I couldn't breathe one breath without you.
I don't have the strength to make it on my own.

Until the world stops turning,
Until the stars fade from the sky,
Until the sun stops striving,
I need you in my life, and here's the reason why...

You are the love of my life.
You are the hope that I cling to.
You mean more than this world to me.

Lord You Are more Precious Than Silver by Jason Wright

Lord You are more Precious than Silver
Lord You are more Costly than Gold
Lord You are more Beautiful than Diamonds
and nothing I desire compares with you.

And who can weigh the value of knowing you,
Oh, who can judge the worth of who you are;
Lord, who can count the blessing, of loving you,
Who can sing just how great you are!

Riches Unsearchable, Riches Untold by Fanny J. Crosby

1 Riches unsearchable, riches untold,—
Purer and brighter than silver or gold,—
Riches unsearchable, priceless, divine,
Blessed Creator and Saviour, are thine.


O for a harp and a voice to proclaim,
Glory and praise to thy excellent name.

2 Riches unsearchable thou wilt bestow
When to thy throne in thy Spirit we go;
When in thy promise we trust and believe,
Riches unsearchable we shall receive. [Refrain]

3 Riches unsearchable, drop’d from above
Into our souls from thy storehouse of love,
What will they be when our race we have run?
What will they be when our crown we have won? [Refrain]

4 Riches unsearchable, not for a day,—
Not for the years that shall circle away,—
Riches eternal, exhaustless, divine,
Blessed Creator and Saviour, are thine. [Refrain]

I'd Rather Have Jesus
A poem written in 1922 by Rhea F. Miller with the music composed by George Beverly Shea, sung often by him on Billy Graham Crusades.

1 I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I'd rather be His than have riches untold;
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I'd rather be led by His nail pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway.
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

2 I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause;
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame.
I'd rather be true to His holy name [Chorus]

3 He's fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He's sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He's all that my hungering spirit needs.
I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead [Chorus]

  • Have you ever lost money because you chose to sin? Think about what it cost you in ways other than financially. What was the cost, what were the consequences?
  • Have you ever financially gained because you chose to obey God and ignore the temptation to sin? Think about how it rewarded you in ways other than financially. What was the reward, what were the consequences of obedience?
  • Can you think of an extreme example where sin cost someone everything?
  • Can you think of an extreme example where godly wisdom saved someone from losing everything?
  • Have you ever thought of Jesus Christ as being worth more than anything on earth and your salvation, through Him, as being your greatest treasure?
  • If you hadn't seen Him like that before this may be new to you. What would you consider to be your greatest treasure? Is there someone, or something, you don't think you could live without?
  • Now this is a hard one, can you give that treasure to God and allow Jesus to be your greatest Treasure? If you struggle with this, that's OK. You are human and you are learning. But ask God to help you with this and pray that He become the most valuable thing in your life. Ask Him to reveal how very precious He is to you and to open your eyes to true riches. Remember, the Holy Spirit resides in you as a Christian. It is God's Will that you love Him above all else and if you want that too, the Holy Spirit will make it happen in your life. Wait for it, and you will see it become a reality in your heart.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Proverbs 3:11-12

Proverbs 3:11-12 (KJV)  11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NLT)  11 My child, don’t reject the LORD’s discipline,
and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the LORD corrects those he loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

Proverbs 3:11-12 (CEV)  11 My child, don't turn away
or become bitter
when the LORD corrects you.
12 The LORD corrects
everyone he loves,
just as parents correct
a child they dearly love.

Hebrews 12:5-13 (NIV)  5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the LORD disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

Job 5:17 Blessed indeed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
discipline - מוּסַ֣ר (musar, mū·sar) - Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 4148: Chastisement, reproof, warning, instruction, restraint

His reproof - בְּתוֹכַחְתּֽוֹ׃ (towkechah, bə·ṯō·w·ḵaḥ·tōw) - Preposition-b | Noun - feminine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8433: Chastisement, correction, refutation, proof

This is one who no one likes to talk about. We really don't want to face discipline. What child goes to his parent and says, "Daddy, spank me. Mommy, make me stand in the corner"? We don't like to face consequences of bad choices. But, disciplining a child is what will make a smart and responsible adult. Not disciplining a child makes a spoiled adult who is not able to function in the real world and in relationships. I'm sure examples have come to your mind already of a well adjusted and responsible adult you know. And, of spoiled, maladjusted adults you know.

The older a child gets, the harder it is to start disciplining them. A small child can accept discipline easier and is easier to handle. But if you wait too long, and the child is older, they can defy you and get away with it. You can't spank a 15 yr old because they can turn on you and attack you. (Have you ever heard of examples of elder abuse?) What we see too much of today are whiney, spoiled, maladjusted young people who weren't disciplined as children and never learned how to play well with others, how to share, or how to have sympathy for others. They are now too old to try to discipline. They run wild. The results are they can't have a longterm meaningful relationship like a marriage, parent/child or even friends! They don't work well with others in jobs so they have a hard time holding down a job. They can't budget or make wise choices. They are mentally handicapped due to lazy parenting. They are stuck in the toddler stage but in adult bodies, never having advanced in mental reasoning processes. They are flat thinkers, not being able to comprehend complex, multilayered thinking. It's like our country is being led by the children in the Lord of the Flies!

People are so averse to consequences they try to make what is wrong, right. They try to remove the consequences of their bad choices and force everyone to acknowledge they are right even when we know they are wrong.

A drug/alcohol addict loves his drug of choice more than anything in life. All they want is for everyone around them to make it easy for them to take their drug and have no consequences from drugging themselves. Heaven help you if you try to get between them and their drug. Heaven forbid you should ever make them feel bad for being drunk or drugged out of their minds. No, you are supposed to stand out of the way and just give them money to buy their drugs. And you are suppose to take care of all responsibilities so they don't have to sober up. They don't want to see any disappointment on your face. They don't want to see any tears in your eyes. They don't want you to yell at them to try to wake them up. They don't want to feel bad, responsible or guilty. They don't want to face what they are doing to themselves and other people. The rest of us are suppose to smile, sit in a corner, take care of all the responsibilities in life, and shut up so they can drug themselves, or drink themselves, into oblivion and go to hell in a handbasket.

Same with homosexuals, and other sexual perverts. They have tried to re-write the Bible so they can practise their sin without consequences. They have tried to force the entire population of the world to accept their perversions as a "lifestyle choice" and the rest of us are suppose to smile, pat them on the back, and give them the keys to the kingdom. If anybody doesn't follow the homosexual party rule, they are labeled haters and homophobics and are despised as though we'd committed a crime. They have forced their lifestyles into every realm of society whether it's appropriate or not. Even churches are being forced to make policies regarding homosexuals in their congregations and in leadership positions. Churches are being forced to decide if they should allow homosexual weddings, homosexuals as preachers/priests, homosexuals as youth leaders or to take care of babies in nursery. How do preachers counsel homosexuals? These are decisions that should be biblically made but pressure from homosexuals is forcing churches to either confront or capitulate. Another instance, in our town, we have had "transgender" men in full bizarre makeup and disguise to force the public library to allow them to read homosexual children's books to children. Why are there homosexual children's books? Why are there sexual children's books at all? Why do transgender men want to dress up like clowns and focus on children with these readings? There are several reasons. First, they want the attention. Second they want to groom children into their lifestyle for future victims. Third, they are trying to justify their sins in the eyes of the world. They want acceptance so they can have their cake and eat it too. They want to practise their sin with no consequences and no guilt. Just like the addict, everyone else is supposed to stand aside, smile, pat them on the back, give in to their every whim and take all the responsibility off of the sinner so they can sin and enjoy it. And by doing that, we are coddling them all the way to hell in a silk-lined handbasket.

You see, there are consequences to sin. ALL sin has serious consequences, the worst being eternal damnation. If we refuse to call sin, sin... then we have allowed people to think they are OK with God and they don't need a Savior. There is no repentance and no forgiveness. The end result is eternal damnation in hell. Even those of us who are saved, face consequences of our sin. God forgives and wipes the sin away and we go to Heaven. But we face consequences here on earth and we lose rewards in Heaven. God loves us too much to let us get away with our sinful behavior. And we should love others enough to try to point out the end result of their bad and sinful choices.

Do I hate homosexuals? NO! Homosexuality is a sin. Do I hate drug addicts and alcoholics? NO! Addiction is idolatry and sinful. I'm a sinner too, just different sins. I deserve eternal hell too. But Jesus Christ saves me from the wages of sin and He cleanses me and gives me eternal life. A homosexual and drug addict can also be saved, cleansed, forgiven and go to heaven. But if we sin, we still face consequences for our sins. As a Christian, we no longer are bound by sin unless we so choose. And the consequences of choosing sin affects us. We all do it, so I can sympathize with another sinner, homosexual or other. In sympathy, I care about homosexuals because I have my own weaknesses to sins and I make bad choices too. But I will not tell you homosexuality is not a sin because that would by lying and deceiving someone into indulging in sin and multiplying the consequences. I can tell someone firmly, but lovingly, they are in trouble and could avoid the trouble if they stopped what they are doing. I can love them and pray for them. After that, it's between them and God.

So we are beginning to see why God disciplines us. He gave us the parent/child relationship so we could understand why discipline is necessary. I need discipline and chastisement, even as an adult. God loves me as His very own child. Therefore, when He sees me getting into trouble and falling into sin, He will lovingly discipline me by allowing consequences so I can learn from my experience. If I learn the lesson easily, the discipline may not have to be severe. But if I'm a hardhead and keep doing the same thing regardless, the discipline of consequences may get harder and harder. For instance, if Mama tells me not to touch the hot stove and I listen, I won't have to experience the pain of a burned hand. If I put my hand near the heat, I can feel the heat but still haven't burned my hand. I could stop there. I've had a verbal warning and a sensory warning. But if I ignore these and think, "Nobody is going to tell me what to do. I'll do what I want!" ...I'm going to end up with a burned hand, a lot of pain and a scar. If I keep putting my hand on that stove, I will lose my hand altogether.

Let's say that your weakness is making fun of people. It makes you feel powerful and better than someone else. So you make fun of people who aren't as pretty or handsome as you are. You hurt people's feelings but you just can't stop. You like being the center of attention, getting laughs from others, feeling powerful, feeling pretty/handsome. You are a Christian and God tries to get your attention. When you make someone cry from the cruel remarks you make, it should make you feel guilty and want to stop doing it. But you don't stop. So God escalates the discipline. Now the teacher has called you out for bullying and you face discipline at school. Then they call your parents and get you in trouble at home. Next you are suspended from school for bullying. But you get on the internet and keep going. By now, you just love stirring up trouble and hurting people. You keep going and you will be ostracized and become the butt of other people's jokes. But you keep making fun of people for being ugly and calling them names because it makes you feel better about yourself. If you don't learn God's lessons, it may end up in severe discipline and one you would never have wished on anyone... you get old. That's right, you get old and you get wrinkles, lose your hair, put on weight or lose too much weight, your breasts sag and your remaining hair goes white. Now who is ugly? You didn't age well and now you feel what others felt when you made fun of them. God allows you a little dose of your own medicine so you can finally know how devastating your cruel comments were. If you are smart, you will fall on your knees at any part of the discipline process and beg Jesus' forgiveness and let Him change your heart. If you refuse you just may become one of those people who is bitter or becomes obsessed with plastic surgery in pathetic attempts to stay "beautiful". God loves you, He's trying to lead you in the way that is best for you. Try to learn to listen to Him and accept His discipline early on so you don't have to suffer. When you resist Him, you are just making things worse for yourself!

God is a loving Father. He disciplines us because He loves us and He knows what is best for us. Have faith in it and look for ways to cooperate with the process rather than resist the process.

I don't want to leave this subject before pointing out that not all bad things that happen are because of some sin you committed. All bad things do happen because of sin in this world. Death, injuries, illnesses, brutality, crime, natural disasters are all due to sin in the world. But it may not be due to your particular sin. For example, you get lung cancer even though you never smoked. Cancer is a result of sin in the world. Sin brought death. This sinful world brings bad things to good people. Maybe you were around secondhand smoke from people who refused to give up smoking, therefore making it an idol in their lives. Or maybe your cancer is due to the sin of greed in the corporate world. In reading the book of Job, we learn that Job suffered terrible things and it wasn't due to his sin or even the sin of anybody around him.

If you are suffering... First, look in your own life and see if there is something God is trying to get your attention on. Do a spiritual inventory. If God is pointing at something in your life, do your best to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in you and turn away from it. Second, if you honestly don't feel God pointing at something in your life, then know, either way, God is perfectly capable of taking our suffering and turning it to good. He promises to do that. He may be allowing your suffering because it will bring out good in your life and in the lives of others. Just like a goldsmith will put gold under high heat to bring out the waste mixed in with the gold. It rises to the top to be skimmed off. It makes the gold pure and bright. It is another form of discipline. It's not so much a spanking for wrongdoing as a strengthener and purifier.

We can always trust God loves us and is working for our best interests and to make us more like Him (which, indeed, is our best interest). His discipline is actually a blessing. One we don't always appreciate but we should.

  • What was the first thing that came to your mind when you read the scriptures at the beginning of this post?
  • Do you use consistent, thoughtful and loving discipline on your children? Why? What is your goal when you discipline your children? Is it to just make them shut up because they are getting on your nerves? That's not the long term goal of godly discipline. So think about it. What are you trying to accomplish when you discipline your children and are you doing it the right way?
  • Each child is different, each family dynamics is different. If you have children, start a page for each child. Underneath, write the problems you are seeing in that child. Pray for them. Make a list of goals you feel your child needs to reach. Then meditate on this scripture. Now begin to journal how you feel God is leading you to train, teach, discipline that child. Then go on to the next child and do the same. What works to teach one child to reach his potential may not work for the next child. A controlled and careful spanking may work for one child but not your other child. One child may respond well to charts and stars while another one responds better to a words of praise and high-fives! So it's important to know each child, and pray. Ask God for His wisdom in training up your child to be a good adult.
  • Back in the day, some parents couldn't control an unruly child so when they reached adult age, they sent them to the military to learn discipline! If you were wealthy and had an unruly child, you sent them to a military school. Did that always work? No, unfortunately a lot of really rebellious young people learned how to thwart even the military discipline. They usually end up in a miserable life, causing mayhem wherever they go - or - they end up in jail (or both). Have you ever seen, read about or heard of a child that was so rebellious that their parents couldn't control them? What were your thoughts about the situation?
  • Have you ever put yourself in the parents' shoes and what would you have done differently?
  • How does that affect how you try to raise your children?
  • Think about good, godly discipline and make a list of how it can help a child as they become an adult.
  • Had you ever thought of discipline as a blessing?
  • Now apply today's thoughts to your relationship with God. Can you see where God has disciplined you in the past? Have you resisted or cooperated? What have been the results?
  • Have you come to the place where you can honestly say, "God do with my life as You will"?
  • Have you come to the place of such trust in His love, that you can obey without asking why and demanding explanations from God? I don't know that any of us can say we have really accepted that as totally as Jesus Christ did. But where are you on the scale?
  • Could you be like Jesus? He woke up each morning without an agenda, a schedule, a job, money, a home, a family to define Him. He woke up each morning, with a yawn and a stretch, and started walking down a road. He knew God would direct Him and provide for His every need. He didn't take a camper, any suitcases, backpacks, lunch baskets and picnic coolers with Him, He didn't know what He would eat, where He would sleep, where He would end up, who He would meet and what He would say. He just trusted God and took things as they came. He fully trusted in God's love for Him and in God's wisdom and guidance... even when it came to the end of His ministry and things got bad. When soldiers arrested Him, lied about Him, mocked Him, tortured Him and crucified Him, it could have looked like He had misplaced His trust and God had left Him in the lurch. But Christ knew God had bigger plans than anything on this earth and He continued to submit to the Father in every way even to His death. And, wow!, what a blessing to us that He did! We are saved because Jesus was obedient even unto death. God did have a greater plan in motion than any human being could have deduced!

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Proverbs 3:9-10

Proverbs 3:9-10 (KJV) 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV) 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (CEV) 9 Honor the LORD by giving him
your money and the first part of all your crops.
10 Then you will have more grain and grapes
than you will ever need.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NLT) 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Honor - כַּבֵּ֣ד (kabad or kabed, kab·bêḏ) - Verb - Piel - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3513: To be heavy, weighty, or burdensome
Brown-Driver-Brigg Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: make honourable, honour, glorify, usually with human subject, God object.

with your wealth - מֵהוֹנֶ֑ךָ (hon, mê·hō·w·ne·ḵā) - Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1952: Wealth, sufficiency
NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin: from hun
Definition: wealth, sufficiency
NASB Translates the word as: cheaply (in 1 instance), enough (in 2 instances), possession (1), riches (4), substance (1), wealth (17).

and with the firstfruits - וּ֝מֵרֵאשִׁ֗ית (reshith, ū·mê·rê·šîṯ) - Conjunctive waw, Preposition-m | Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 7225: The first, in place, time, order, rank
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: first of fruits

of all - כָּל־ (kol, kāl-) - Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 3605: The whole, all, any, every

your harvest; - תְּבוּאָתֶֽךָ׃ (tebuah, tə·ḇū·’ā·ṯe·ḵā) - Noun - feminine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8393: Product, revenue
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: Product, revenue, figuratively gain of wisdom.

then your barns - אֲסָמֶ֣יךָ (asam, ’ă·sā·me·ḵā) - Noun - masculine plural construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 618: A storehouse

will be filled - וְיִמָּלְא֣וּ (male or mala, wə·yim·mā·lə·’ū) - Conjunctive waw | Verb - Nifal - Conjunctive imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 4390: To fill, be full of

with plenty - שָׂבָ֑ע (saba, śā·ḇā‘) - Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7647: Plenty, satiety

and your vats - יְקָבֶ֥יךָ (yeqeb, yə·qā·ḇe·ḵā) - Noun - masculine plural construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3342: A trough, a wine-vat
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: wine-vat (a trough or hollow excavated in the rock for receiving the juice trodden out, sometimes also wine-press (the trough in which the grapes were trodden out).

will overflow - יִפְרֹֽצוּ׃ (parats, yip̄·rō·ṣū) - Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 6555: To break through
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: burst open.

with new wine - וְ֝תִיר֗וֹשׁ (tirosh, wə·ṯî·rō·wōš) - Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8492: Must, fresh grape-juice, fermented wine
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: usually as a sign of fertility, or as valuable product.

Why does God want us to give to Him? Doesn't He have enough already? Can't He just make piles of money or mansions and leave us alone? Aren't I the poorer of the two of us? So why do I have to give to God?

These are questions I'm sure we all think at some time. First we have to go beyond flat thinking and look at the layers. Let's start by saying, it's not all about us but it is all about God. God was here first and will be here last, He is the Alpha (the A) and the Omega (the Z), the Beginning and the End. We would not be here if it weren't for Him. He is our Creator! He created us and not we ourselves. And not only did He create us, He created the environment that would sustain us, the Earth! If I was suddenly created in space, I'd die before I could take my first breath. So He carefully created a planet that would sustain us. He gave us gravity, oxygen, food, water, medicinal herbs, meat to eat, sun and rain, etc. Then He crafted us and gave us His very breath for life! And, He did not stop with just creating our environment and creating us, but He sent His Son to take our sins so that we could be saved! My eternity is secure through Jesus Christ and I have a relationship with the God of the Universe, Yah-weh! Oh my, yes I owe Him my adoration and my love!

So how do we show our love to someone? When you are in love you want to spend all your time with that person, you want to tell them how much they mean to you. You want to spend intimate time with that person where you laugh at the same jokes, giggle and cuddle, talk and hold hands. You want to learn everything about them and you want to know their opinion above all others. You want to share all you have with each other and you don't want to hold back anything! That's the way it is with our relationship with God. He wants that kind of intimate relationship and we were made for that kind of intimate relationship. God loves everything He creates, but He doesn't have that one-on-one relationship with the animals, the grass and the trees! It's why He created mankind! So when we give in and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we can have that kind of relationship with God. And out of that relationship of love, naturally flows a desire to give to God and to hear and obey Him. Not because we have to or He will whip us. But because we love Him so much we want to!

This is the foremost reason we give to God. It is based on love, trust, and obedience that flows out of our love and trust. But another reason we give is so we can experience the joys of generosity. The love of God in us flows out in generosity that helps others. God is Love and from that love, He has given everything to us and to all His created life. He never stops giving! It flows from Him in the love He expends constantly. Like the Living Water that will flow from His Throne in the new Heaven and New Earth. It is His life, His Love, His generosity to those who receive it with a grateful heart. It brings health, prosperity and provision for an eternal life and eternal relationship with Him. And He wants us to know how to give in that way, so we can experience the joy of giving and releasing.

Another reason to give, it shows to the world that we trust God to meet our needs. It is a testimony of our belief in the love relationship we have with God. We can trust Him to meet our needs therefore we don't have to hold on to every penny and scrape and scrap over money. Money is not our God therefore we can be openhanded and generous because our God is always pouring out to us.

It's not only money. We should receive with gratitude ALL God gives us: breath, life, vitality, health, money, job, family, relationships, talents, time, skills, education, home(s), material things, wisdom, spiritual blessing and growth, etc. ALL that God gives can be generously made available to Him for His use as He sees fit. Again, we can't outgive God. Whatever we give out, He pours more riches into us.

For example, do you know why I have this blog and why I write my Bible studies? Number one is because I'm learning about God and typing it all out helps cement it in my mind. Sort of a meditation with my mind and fingers. But also, so I can share what God has poured into me! As He pours spiritual nuggets of wisdom into me through His Holy Spirit, I want to share with someone else. I want to be generous with what He's given me. I have the typing skill, the time and the nuggets of wisdom so why not give it out?

Maybe you don't think you have much to give. But then you hear about a child in need and you go through your kids' clothes to give clothing to the needy child. Or you feel the desire to provide toys for a child in need at Christmas and you do. Maybe you know your sister-in-law is sick and you take her a meal. Or maybe you have health and strength, so you go make up a wood pile for your aging grandfather's wood stove. Or maybe you know of someone who is moving and needs a strong back and you go help. Maybe you can teach someone how to use a computer program that helps them on their job. When your wife is counseling someone on the phone, you make supper to free her up to do that. You give smiles to all those you meet throughout the day so it makes their day brighter. Maybe you are a natural peacemaker and you use that skill to diffuse a volatile situation. All of these are ways of giving that maybe you haven't thought about. When you did it you didn't even think about it, you just did it. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Giving is suppose to flow naturally out of the love in your heart. You don't think about it, you just do it. You don't think about getting applause, your name on a plaque, or a Thank You card. You just do it because you want to. Of course, if you are a recipient of generosity in any form, accept it with gratitude and thank the person. But a "thank you" is not why you give. Gratitude from the recipient is not why we give. We give because God has poured His love into us and we want to give. He will give back to us whether the person ever acknowledges our gift or not.

I guess what I'm saying is we give because we want to give. It should come naturally and spontaneously out of our love for God. He gives, therefore we give. And it's a blessing to give! It feels good to give! It blesses us to give! It is a joy to give and God wants us to experience that joy and feeling of release. If you've ever seen a stream dammed up, you will know what I mean. It backs up and when someone removes a rock and lets the water flow, it is a release, a first flush of water that was not meant to be dammed up.

I like to read about historical natural disasters like floods. I like to watch stories about them on TV. I don't know why. But floods are powerful. I have read about dams built with flaws that caused the dams to break under pressure. The huge rush of water that was backed up comes frothing and boiling out of the release spot. It overwhelms and knocks everything over. The raging water barrels down the valley, sweeping everything ahead of it. It causes massive destruction because people trusted the dam and built their houses, businesses, towns in the way of the water. If they had never dammed the water up in the first place, the river(s) would have flowed peacefully the way they were meant to flow, naturally. But damming it up is unnatural and when the dam breaks, the backed up water is released and until it falls back to it's natural flow. Don't try to dam up the natural flow of giving. Let it flow naturally in response to the love relationship you have with the Father.

What is tithing? Tithing is a spiritual practice. A spiritual practice, discipline or exercise are regular actions and activities we do for cultivating spiritual development. Like prayer, Bible reading, meditation, church attendance. Tithing is giving the “first fruits” to God. It is an act of faith and trust. It is an important doctrine in Christianity. Again, we do not do these things just to tick off a daily list so we can say we pleased God today. We do these things because we love God and these things help us to develop that relationship with God.

Do you have a date night with your spouse? Do you kiss your spouse before you leave for work or at night before you go to bed? Do you tell them you love them as you end your phone conversation? Do you hold their hand as you walk together? Do you open their door for them or make dinner for them? All of these are actions you practise in order to show your love for your spouse. Sometimes you do it out of habit. Sometimes you do it even though you had an argument earlier. It's a habit you've developed and it helps keep your relationship healthy. So spiritual disciplines are like that. Sometimes you don't feel like it; sometimes you do it more out of habit or duty, but it's based on the love relationship you have with God and you do it to keep your relationship with Him strong.

This is the first instance of tithing in the Bible:
Genesis 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

After Lot was kidnapped by raiding parties in battles, Abraham went out to rescue him. God gave Abraham victory and he was able to get Lot and his family back, as well as all the loot they had taken. On the way back, he met Melchizedek who blessed Abraham. Melchizedek (the name means King of Righteousness) was a King of Salem (early Jerusalem) and Priest of God Most High. He was revered by Abraham. Melchizedek was a type of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7 (NLT) 1 This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. 2 Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” 3 There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God.
4 Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. 5 Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham. 6 But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. 7 And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.
8 The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. 9 In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. 10 For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him.
11 So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron?
12 And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it. 13 For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose members have never served at the altar as priests. 14 What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe.
15 This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. 16 Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied,
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110)
18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. 19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
20 This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, 21 but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,
“The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
22 Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.
23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. 28 The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.

Here are some scriptures on tithing:

Deuteronomy 26:2 you are to take some of the firstfruits of all your produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place that the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for His name,

Malachi 3:7-12 (NLT) 7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
“But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’
8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (NIV) 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

Matthew 23:23 (NLT, Jesus speaking) 23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens,g but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

  • Have you ever given because you felt like you had to? Under compulsion, pressured? Why did you give anyway?
  • Have you ever given freely and because you wanted to give? A cheerful giver, from the heart? Why did you give then?
  • Did you know how tithing started with Abraham and King/Priest Melchizedek? Did you, like me, ever read that passage and wonder where Melchizedek came from and why Abraham had responded to him like he did? Did you have an Ah-Ha moment when you learned King/Priest Melchizedek was a type of Christ (according to the Hebrews passage)? What kind of new understanding did that give you?
  • Did you think tithing was like paying club dues at a church? Learning about giving today, did it change your understanding about tithing?
  • Did you know there is a difference between tithing and offering? Tithing is the 10% you give but offerings are anything above and beyond the tithe.
  • Have you ever practised tithing, not out of compulsion, but because you wanted to?
  • Did you notice anything different about your budget and finances while you were tithing?
  • It is important for a congregation to learn about giving and tithing so a pastor has to address these issues from the pulpit in order to teach their flock. But there is a balance. Teaching and exhorting is one thing but compelling, trying to force and manipulate is another. Have you seen examples of a pastor correctly teaching about giving with good balance? Have you seen examples of a pastor who has fallen into coercion, manipulation, compulsion when they preach about giving? We must remember, pastors are human beings too. They can get off balance. But if it's a continual, escalating situation, it may need to be addressed. They could be falling into the sin of control, idolatry, greed, etc.
  • If a pastor preaches about giving, how have you felt? What has been your reaction? Get honest before the Lord (it's just between you and Him anyway), and ask Him if your reaction is what He desires? If you were angry, did you have a spiritual reason to be angry or are you trying to justify yourself for not tithing or giving? People can get pretty touchy about money, which is a good indicator of where their heart lies. If a pastor teaches about giving, somebody will inevitably get mad thinking the pastor is just trying to get more money out of their pockets. They may, or may not, be correct. The first thing to do is go to God and ask Him what He thinks about YOU! Are you being obedient; are you submissive to God (not the pastor!!!, but God); are you willing to lay all on the altar and give up anything or everything? Have you gotten to the place where you can trust God even if He asks you to sell everything and follow Him? Boy, howdy, is that hard! I'm with you there! On the other hand, are you genuinely feeling anger because the pastor went overboard and was using coercive, marketing techniques to milk more money out his flock? Fleecing his flock?
  • Do you practise giving even when you don't feel like it? Not under compulsion, but just as a spiritual exercise?
  • Have you ever thought of all the other ways of giving to God? I don't mean you did something for a gold star, a Thank You, or as a duty. But list some ways that you give from the heart that doesn't concern money. And always remember, you don't know what someone else is doing in their lives. You may think they never give, but you don't know the times they may have slipped an extra tip in for the waitress or gave a smile to a cashier or paid for their parents' medication. So keep your judgments to yourself. How can you be generous with things other than money?

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Proverbs 3:7-8

Proverbs 3:7-8 (KJV)  7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Proverbs 3:7-8 (NIV)  7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:7-8 (NLT)  7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.

Proverbs 3:7-8 (GNT)  7 Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the LORD and refuse to do wrong. 8 If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.

Have you ever hear this: "So you think you are so smart?!?" Well, today's verses start out that way. There is an admonition in the first part, "Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are".  Arrogance and pride lead us to often think we are smarter than we are. It is rather humbling to realize we aren't so smart after all. In fact, we can be pretty stupid. About as stupid and dense as sheep.

God compared people to sheep because they have no natural defense and can walk into danger without knowing it. They are pretty helpless without a shepherd to lead them and protect them.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Many people follow false shepherds, charismatic leaders but who lead them into destruction. Sheep also tend to wander off. They get to eating and they don't pay attention to their surroundings and they wander away and stray into danger.

Matthew 9:36 When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Luke 15:3-7  3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Isaiah 40:11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

John 10:7-17,25-28  7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again...
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Psalm 100:3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

So try to realize that you aren't smarter than God. You aren't God. Therefore you are dependent upon the Shepherd (God). We can't read the future, we can't know all the variables, we can't know everything and therefore our idea of an "informed decision" is still a pretty UN-informed decision. And even if we knew everything, we don't have the brain power to put it all together and make a God decision. We need Him and we need Him to be in control. We need to let Him be God!

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
This will bring - תְּהִ֣י (tə·hî, hayah) - Verb - Qal - Imperfect Jussive - third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

healing - רִ֭פְאוּת (rip̄·’ūṯ, riph'uth) - Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7500: A healing
The root word is rapha

to your body - לְשָׁרֶּ֑ךָ (lə·šār·re·ḵā, shor, l'shor'rekha),  - Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8270: A string, the umbilical cord

and refreshment - וְ֝שִׁקּ֗וּי (wə·šiq·qui, shiqquy) - Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8250: A beverage, moisture, refreshment

to your bones - לְעַצְמוֹתֶֽיךָ׃ (lə·‘aṣ·mō·w·ṯe·ḵā, etsem) - Preposition-l | Noun - feminine plural construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6106: A bone, the body, the substance, selfsame

"The root rapha is properly "to sew together," and the secondary meaning, "to heal," is taken from the healing of a wound by sewing it up. Delitzsch, however, thinks riph'uth is not to be taken as a restoration from sickness, but as a raising up from enfeebled health, or a confirming of the strength which already exists. There shall be a continuance of health." - Pulpit Commentary

To your body
"The navel is here regarded as the centre of vital strength...Gesenius, however, takes shor, or l'shor'rekha, as standing collectively for the nerves, in which, he says, is the seat of strength, and translates accordingly, 'Health (i.e. refreshment) shall it be to thy nerves.'" - Pulpit Commentary

The word is used in Ezekiel 16:4 "On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths." This was a sign of utter neglect of a newborn infant.

The navel is the center of the body and where the umbilical cord gave us nourishment from our mother in the womb. There is a profusion of blood vessels in the navel area that took the mother's nourishment into the fetus' body. It is the place of our digestive organs. While in the womb, the baby is attached to the mother by an umbilical cord that has two arteries and a vein. The blood is pumped into and out of the baby taking nutrients and oxygen in the blood and releasing wastes back to the mother to be disposed of by her body. The baby is entirely dependent on the mother for it's nutrition, oxygen, the functioning of it's organs.

It is said by some that Jerusalem is the capital of the world and the Temple was the navel and the Holy of Holies was the place attachment, or umbilical cord, to God. It was where the people of God had contact with their God. The "umbilical cord" from the people to God and God to the people.

As Christians, we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and have been forgiven for our sins. At the moment we seek God through Jesus Christ, we are born-again. Our spirit is born so that we are once more a tri-part being: body, mind (soul) and spirit. It is also the point we come back into contact with God just like attaching our umbilical cord to Him. The Holy Spirit enters us. From there we can receive spiritual nourishment, health and life from our God. Whenever we take advantage of our attachment to God, we receive the spiritual health and nutrients we need to be spiritually healthy. This attaching to God is communion with Him. It is our time of repentance, prayer, meditation, learning about Him through His Word, worshiping Him, loving Him, obeying Him. We receive health and life from Him and we give Him all our waste (sin) to be disposed of.

Our bones frame our body and healthy bones with good bone marrow are essential. Why is bone marrow essential to our health?

Bone marrow is the spongy and gelatinous tissue inside some of the bones in the body, including the hip and thigh bones. Bone marrow serves as an organ of the immune system. The two types of bone marrow are red bone marrow, known as myeloid tissue, and yellow bone marrow, or fatty tissue. Both types of bone marrow are enriched with blood vessels and capillaries. The blood vessels of the bone marrow constitute a barrier, inhibiting immature blood cells from leaving the marrow. Only mature blood cells can pass the endothelium, cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels. The red bone marrow is a key element of the lymphatic system, is part of the vascular system and an important part of the immune system. Bone marrow makes more than 200 billion new blood cells every day. Red bone marrow consists of a delicate, highly vascular fibrous tissue containing hematopoietic stem cells. These are blood-forming stem cells. Yellow bone marrow contains mesenchymal stem cells, also known as marrow stromal cells. These produce fat, cartilage, and bone. Stem cells are immature cells that can turn into a number of different types of cells. Stem cells can develop into the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body, the white blood cells that fight infections, and the platelets that help with blood clotting. In bone marrow, certain cell types tend to aggregate in specific areas. This is called biological compartmentalization. Yellow bone marrow is involved in the storage of fats. The fats in yellow bone marrow are stored in cells called adipocytes. This fat can be used as an energy source as needed. Yellow bone marrow also contains mesenchymal stem cells. These are cells that can develop into bone, fat, cartilage, or muscle cells.  As you age, your red bone marrow is gradually replaced with yellow bone marrow. And by adulthood, red bone marrow can be found only in a handful of bones. A newborn baby's bones exclusively contain hematopoietically active "red" marrow, and there is a progressive conversion towards "yellow" marrow with age. During the course of an entire lifespan, tissue repair and regeneration is made possible by the presence of adult stem cells. But regeneration decreases with age. Adult stem cells have protective mechanisms but they still age and lose function. At this time it seems unknown why bone marrow is unable to keep up with the body's demand for new blood cells and this seems to cause aging. Our bone marrow does not continue the regeneration of cells like it does as a child. It declines and thus we begin aging. There are cells in the bone marrow called osteoblasts, which help form bone. Osteoblasts make a protein called osteopontin, which is important to supporting a vibrant bone marrow environment in the creation of blood-forming stem cells. Our bones seem to lose osteopontin proteins as we age, thus we produce less blood cells.

"The normal bone marrow architecture can be damaged or displaced by aplastic anemia (an autoimmune disease where the body fails to produce enough blood cells), malignancies (cancer) such as multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells), or infections such as tuberculosis, leading to a decrease in the production of blood cells and blood platelets. The bone marrow can also be affected by various forms of leukemia, which attacks its hematologic progenitor cells. Furthermore, exposure to radiation or chemotherapy will kill many of the rapidly dividing cells of the bone marrow, and will therefore result in a depressed immune system. Many of the symptoms of radiation poisoning are due to damage sustained by the bone marrow cells." - Wikipedia

What does all this have to do with our verse today? There is youth, vitality, strength, and a healthy immune system in the marrow of our bones. But as we age, our bone marrow begins changing probably causing the aging process and our eventual death. After we die, our flesh decays and our bones are left. Our bones dry, the marrow but dust.

There is a famous prophetic passage in Ezekiel 37, let's look at that:

Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NIV)  1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ ”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’ ”

If I found a skeletal bone buried in my backyard... I would know someone (or some animal) had died. The dried bone tells me a once living being was now very dead. I could try to put that bone in water but it would not regenerate. If I tried to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a skull, my breath would go right through. There would be no life. It wouldn't come back from the dead.

But in Ezekiel's passage, God promises him the dry bones will assimilate and come back to life! How? Because God will do what He did to Adam and Eve... He will give them His breath of life! "I will make breath enter you" (verse 5). God gives His life by His breath.

Something else to consider about this passage in Ezekiel. These bodies were not buried. In biblical times, that would have been a desecration. It was an ultimate disrespect to leave bodies unburied and open to the scavengers. A winning army would strip valuables and weapons from dead soldiers but they rarely buried the dead of the opposing army. They were Losers. So they would leave them for the natural scavengers to pick the bodies clean; leaving the bones to bleach in the sun. Even today, leaving bodies like that is considered disrespectful to the dead and the family. We still try to bring home the remains of our American soldiers whenever possible so they can be "decently buried". Families who have lost their loved ones mysteriously, have a hard time finding closure until the remains are found and buried with respect. These bones were in a valley, had not been buried and Ezekiel is standing amidst a lot of dead people in his vision. Very dead. Dead so long they no longer had flesh and their bones were "very dry".

Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones came to him after God had directed him to prophesy the rebirth of Israel in Ezekiel 36. Israel had no king, no city, no land, no Temple. It's people had been dispersed and exiled with no hope. The nation seemed pretty dead. God promised to restore Israel back to life. But there is another fulfillment. We, who were dead in sin, no hope, only eternal damnation, can be made alive again through Jesus Christ. We can be born again. God gives life to our spirit so that we can live eternally. Jesus forgives us of our sins so we can receive the life of God. Our dead bodies will be raised incorruptible to join our spirits and to live forever with God!

We have learned that fearing God is the beginning of godly wisdom. To acknowledge Him; to respect and honor Him; to hold Him above all else; and, to desire Him. This is true wisdom. It is where all true wisdom starts and ends. Accepting this is our salvation for it leads us to God, to repentance and to asking for forgiveness of our sins. And Jesus is the only way to be forgiven and born again. He is the Way, the Truth and the Light.

So, yes, wisdom leads us to Jesus and this leads us to eternal life in mind, body and spirit. Therefore, this wisdom gives us eternal life. Even our bodies will be resurrected and made immortal because of what Jesus Christ did for us. So our dead, dry bones will be resurrected; the life of God breathed into them; bone and sinew reconstructed until we are once again whole and perfect, never to experience aging or death again! We will be healthy and immortal in mind (soul), body and spirit!

There is another practical way the wisdom of God gives us health and vitality. We avoid many things when we avoid sin. When we have a clear head and make better decisions, we avoid the pitfalls that can lead to disease, illness, injury to our bodies. If we remain sexually pure until our marriage and stay monogamous and faithful in our marriage, we can avoid STDs. If we don't practise the sin of homosexuality, we can avoid STDs and AIDS. If we don't smoke or vape, we can usually avoid lung cancer, other cancers, heart disease, etc. If we don't take drugs, we can avoid addiction and it's destruction to our bodies. If we don't drink and take drugs we may not have automobile accidents that injure us (or other innocent people). A lot of our illnesses and injuries could be avoided by using godly wisdom and saying no to sin. Not all, of course. But a good percentage.

So "fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones".

  • Is there something in your life that came to mind when you read this? No one has been 100% wise in their choices (except Jesus Christ) so I'm not condemning you. I'm asking if you have experienced consequences from sinful choices that have affected your health?
  • Have you ever seen the photos of people taken before they became drug addicts and a photo after they've become drug addicts? Check Rehabs.
  • Have you ever read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde?
  • Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?
  • As a Christian, have you still struggled with a sin in your life? (We all do.) Is it an ongoing struggle?
  • Has God asked you to give up some sin and you've resisted? How has that worked for you?
  • Have you ever struggled with God over a sin? Describe it (this is just between you and God). Meditate on it. Pray about it. Even ask God to give you the desire to let it go. The longer you hold onto it, the harder it is to let it go.
  • Can you think of an example of a temptation to sin, but you resisted the temptation? You didn't give in? What were the results? (For instance, you were tempted to go to a party and get drunk and you didn't do it. The next day, your friends were all hung over and vomiting but you weren't.)
  • There are consequences to our choices to sin, but there are consequences to our choices to be obedient. Make a list of some consequences for obedience and wisdom.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Trust - בְּטַ֣ח (bə·ṭaḥ) - Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 982: To trust, be confident, sure

your heart - לִבֶּ֑ךָ (lib·be·ḵā) - Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3820: The heart, the feelings, the will, the intellect, centre

acknowledge Him - דָעֵ֑הוּ (ḏā·‘ê·hū) - Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3045: acknowledge, acquainted with, advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will do it.

What does "trust" mean? Trust - firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. As a noun: I put my trust in God. As a verb: I trust in God's faithfulness. How do you trust someone or something? You have to have experience with someone/something and know someone/something before you can trust it, or them. I don't trust a stranger on the street. But if I get to know someone, I begin to trust them. It is normal for us to trust someone's promises, to trust their word, if we know them. We feel so betrayed if they don't fulfill the promise they made to us. If our new friend, John Doe, says he's going to meet us at the movie at 9:00 p.m., we wait around for him and if he never shows we are aggravated and we feel a little betrayed. We have learned not to trust John Doe when he says he's going to do something or not do something because he is untrustworthy.

If we fall in love and our love says things to us and makes promises, we trust them. Especially when they agree to marry us and make vows before God and witnesses to love us and forsake all others through sickness and health, riches and poor, til death do us part. A marriage is a sacred covenant because it is made before God with witnesses. But, today, one out of every two marriages end in divorce because someone (or both) have not taken their vows seriously. For whatever reason, their word is no longer good, their promises were worthless, their vows meant very little to them. They are untrustworthy. And if they have committed adultery, the betrayal is even worse. They have betrayed the very essence of the marriage, the oneness.

God hates divorce for this reason: God used the institution of marriage as a picture of His relationship with His people. God has made covenant promises to His people. He loves them and is faithful no matter what they do in return. God's Word is His bond. He has never been unfaithful to His people (those who chose Him above all other "gods") and He never forgets them and the promises He has made to love them and provide and protect them. He provided a way, through His own Son, Jesus Christ, to bring His sinful, wayward, adulterous, idolatrous people back into relationship with Him. We have to choose to accept that Way. When we do, we are born-again and are part of the Church, God's people and His Bride. He is ever faithful and we can trust in Him to get us through everything and to be with Him forever.

My parents were married in 1956. Their vows meant something to them. They were faithful to each other their whole lives and were married nearly 60 years before my Mom died of dementia. Those last 2 years were awful for my Dad as he was there through the slow decay of her mind and memory. But he took care of her and she would have taken care of him if the roles were reversed. He knew that and he was faithful to the end. I have a dear friend whose wife recently died of cancer and he was faithful to the end despite the all the hardship and watching his beloved slowly die. He held her hand at her last breath. I can say that my family has been very blessed with marriages that lasted to the end. Our grandparents, aunts and uncles, great aunts and great uncles, cousins, siblings, etc have experienced very few divorces. 90% have had good marriages that lasted to the end. In this day, that's a miracle and one I'm very grateful for because it taught me what a real marriage is. It's not the dress-up party called a wedding, showing off and being the center of attention for a day. It's a beginning of a lifetime relationship that is good when it's good and hard when it's hard. But you stick it out and you do the right thing because you trust the vows you each made.

So how do I learn to trust God? People are human beings and they will let you down. They will break promises. Because of sin, people are people and will betray you. Yet we trust them more than we trust God?!? God is sinless, what He says He will do, He will do. He is ever faithful. When God makes a covenant, He never breaks that promise. Why can't we trust Him?

Maybe because we don't know Him as well as we could and should? First, getting to know someone takes time. Over time we learn that what He says, He always does. It's experience, life experience, as a Christian. Also, over time, we learn more and more about Him. We read His Word, we go to church, we go to Sunday School and Bible studies, we read Christian books, etc. Also, He put a secret weapon in each of us, His Holy Spirit. When we are born-again, the Holy Spirit enters us and begins the teaching, training and empowering that sanctifies us over our lifetime. He is in me to teach me about God and enable me to learn and understand more and more about God. God didn't leave us alone down here to fend for ourselves in this mad world! He gave us a secret weapon that is in each and every true Christian, the Holy Spirit. Let's face it, we are pretty spiritually dense, and it takes the power of God to get truths in us in a way that takes root and begins to actually grow and produce fruit! If you've been a Christian for a length of time, you have had Ah-Ha moments where something suddenly makes sense and you wonder why you hadn't understood it before now. That's the Holy Spirit making something alive in you.

In order to trust God, you have to get to know Him. You have to gain some Christian life-experiences in order to realize you can trust Him. You have to learn about His character, His history with His people, His promises.

Sometimes I think if I could physically see God, I could trust Him better. But then I have to realize, Jesus Christ came in a physical form and people still didn't trust Him. Even if someone comes back from the dead, they refuse to believe and trust in Him! Luke 16:19-31.

In the movie, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, he is pursuing the Holy Grail, the Cup of Christ. It was supposedly the cup Christ used in the Last Supper. Near the end of the movie, Indiana Jones is in a cave and he comes out on a ledge with a huge, uncrossable chasm. He must cross over. All the clues lead him to this and he has to cross over. He trusts that there is a way over although it certainly looks impossible. He takes a "leap of faith" and takes a step into what looks like air. But it's an illusion. When the camera shifts, you can see the land bridge to the other side. He even throws sand on it to prove there is a bridge. His leap of faith was rewarded with a trustworthy bridge across to the other side.

Sometimes God causes us to come to a place where it seems there is no way. There is an impossible situation and He is calling us to the other side. We can't see a way. It's impossible! But if God is calling, we can trust Him. If He is holding out His hand, we can trust Him. He will make a way where there was no way. He is a miracle working God. I can't understand it; I can't see it; I see no way out; I feel trapped. But God is with me and He is the miracle worker. If I will put my trust in Him, He will provide a way. There is a Christian song that says, "Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child". We don't have to understand and have it all explained, all we have to do is trust. Let's say that my loved one is dying of a disease. I can trust God in this situation. God may miraculously heal my loved one. Or He may used the tools of the medical profession to heal them. Or He may heal them by taking them home to Heaven where they will forever be well, healthy and immortal. If He does the latter then He will miraculously help me through the grief process and bring me out on the other side. He has promised He will never leave or forsake me. He has promised that He will walk me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and that I will not have to fear any evil during my time of grief.

This is so much easier said than done. I understand, and I don't come from such a high, lofty, secure place of trust myself. I struggle with trusting God just like you will. But this verse today tells us that if we trust Him and NOT our own understanding, He will direct our paths (like Indiana Jones walking across that invisible bridge). If we reach out to Him when we are afraid and insecure, He will take us and lead us in the right path. He will carry us when we are failing, as long as we acknowledge Him.

As long as I sit with Him and cry out to Him and acknowledge that I don't understand but I know He does... He will take care of all things and lead us (or carry us) through to the other side. It's called faith.

There is another movie I love called The Apostle with Robert Duvall. He is a preacher and his wife and church let him down and he commits a grievous sin. He tries to run away and re-create himself in a new life and begins a church. Throughout all of his problems, failures and triumphs, he continues to hold fast to God. That's his salvation. He can't do enough good works to pay for his sin although he tries. He gets betrayed and he betrays, but he still holds fast to God. He doesn't understand but he holds fast to God. Everything seems to go wrong but he holds fast to God. And we see the grace of God even in the midst of all the consequences and circumstances. In the end, Duvall's character has been stripped of everything worldly, but he has held fast to God and in the last scenes he is preaching to his fellow prisoners on a chain gang. Does this mean that God has let him down despite Duvall's trust? No, it means that God is working in Duvall in spiritual ways that are deeper than we can comprehend. In the end, we will agree with God that it was worth it. Every worldly thing we lose is replaced by a spiritual value and treasure that is immeasurable.

  • How can I develop trust in God despite outward appearances?
  • How can I increase my faith in God?
  • How can I cooperate with the Holy Spirit within me in order to gain God's perspective instead of the world's illusions (invisible bridge)?
  • Do I know God? Have I experienced God? Do I have a relationship with God? If not, what holds me back? If I do, how can I deepen it?
  • What is the promise in today's scripture? What does the promise depend on?

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Proverbs 3:3-4

Proverbs 3:3-4 (KJV)  3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:3-4 (NIV)  3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:3-4 (YLT)  3 Let not kindness and truth forsake thee, Bind them on thy neck, Write them on the tablet of thy heart,
4 And find grace and good understanding In the eyes of God and man.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
let loving devotion - חֶ֥סֶד (ḥe·seḏ) - Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2617: Kindness, piety, reproof, beauty
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon adds kindness (especially as extended to the lowly, needy and miserable), mercy.

or faithfulness - וֶאֱמֶ֗ת (we·’ĕ·meṯ) - Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 571: Stability, certainty, truth, trustworthiness, reliability

God shows us mercy and therefore we should show mercy to our fellow man. We should extend the grace that has been extended to us. God has been faithful to us and we should be faithful to Him and to our fellow man.

Mercy and love are a part of God's Nature. Because God is the initiator, the mercy He gives is gracious, unmerited, undeserved. We are recipients of His mercy. He has mercifully provided a way of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. He loved us enough to provide a way of escape. We do not deserve a relationship with God but He made the way for us to have a relationship with Him! When we are aware of God's mercy and love towards us, we respond in love towards Him and we become channels of God's mercy in the church and to the world.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible
The two elements of a morally perfect character:
(1) "Mercy," shutting out all forms of selfishness and hate.
(2) "Truth," shutting out all deliberate falsehood, all hypocrisy, conscious or unconscious.

1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Ephesians 5:1-2  1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, 2 and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.

1 John 4:7-12 (NIV)  7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Have you ever thought that God is merciful in not revealing all our sins at one fell swoop? I think if I saw my sins and the evil in me and around me, I would think I couldn't be saved. If He revealed the truth without mercy I would probably blow my brains out and end in Hell because I couldn't handle the truth. On the other hand, if God extends mercy without revealing truth, we might not understand how much we need Him and the seriousness of our situation. We might go to hell in a handbasket, cosseted and spoiled literally to death. For the right results, truth and mercy go hand in hand. God knows just how much truth to reveal to lead us to His feet in surrender and repentance. He knows just how much mercy to show so that we aren't overwhelmed and destroyed by the truth but rather run to Him for salvation.

In this world we must show mercy but we also must show truth. If we are so "merciful" and loving someone may not realize their need for a Savior. They may go to hell because they never saw the need of salvation. They think they are just fine without Jesus. But if we are so truthful we end in being harsh and severe and people will reject our message of the gospel. We need godly wisdom to know when to extend mercy and love and when to be truthful. We have to be faithful to God and present the truth, but we must also be faithful to God and extend mercy and grace.

How do we write these on the tablets of our heart? How do we bind them as a necklace around our neck?

There can be things written in our heart that are good and things that are bad.

Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;

2 Corinthians 3:3 It is clear that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NLT)  31 “The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD.
33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

Of King Rehoboam it is said: “And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14).
Ezra, on the other hand, “had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it” (Ezra 7:10).

Prepare your heart to receive the Word of God. As much as it lays within you, be open minded to the Word. Of course, the Holy Spirit is within you to help you understand. But He must have cooperation with you which means you must be receptive and willing to learn about God through His Word.

Read the Word. Sounds so simple but we must take the Bible out and open it and place our eyes on the words and read it. You can't learn it by osmosis. You may have a Bible in your home but it does no good if you don't ever open it. Pray before you read and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand it.

Listen to the Word. That means going to church, listening to it on TV or radio, listen to it like you would a podcast on your smart phone.

Write the Word. Rehearse scripture by writing it out. For instance, when you do your daily devotion and read the Bible, pick a verse and write it out in your journal. Then write it in your own words.

Meditate on the Word. Think about it and how it may apply to you or to situations you are aware of.

Memorize it.

Pray it. Read your scripture. Pray about it and pray it.

Sing it. There are plenty of scripture songs you can learn on Youtube.

Read it outloud so that you are reading it and hearing it.

How do you apply the Word? How do you show others the Word has changed you? I.e. how do you wear it like a pendant around your neck so others can see the Word and to remind you of the Word?

When you read the Bible (with prayer and a receiving heart), something natural happens. There are going to be changes in you. It's natural fruit that occurs when the Word is planted in your heart and watered with your careful attention. You don't have to force yourself to be kinder and gentler, it happens because of the work going on in your heart.

Others should be able to see the difference just like they see a new necklace you are wearing. The Word in your heart is shining out.

  • Have you ever read the Bible all the way through from Genesis to Revelation? I encourage you to do that. When I was a young girl, my parents gave me my very own Bible. But it was a King James Version and I tried to read it but couldn't get past the first few chapters. My mind was not educated and mature enough to be able to interpret that old English. Then, my Aunt gave me a Living Bible when I was a teenager. I was able to read it and understand what it was saying. I read it from cover to cover. Then I got a New American Standard and read it from cover to cover. Then I got a New King James Version. Each time I was more mature in my ability to comprehend what I was reading. I love the many translations we have now! But my advice is to start with one of the easy-to-read translations or paraphrases (like the Living Bible, The Message, Contemporary English Version). Read it all the way through. Don't get bogged down in details and questions. You'll come back to that later. Right now you are getting the big picture and developing that base. Then go back and read it again but in another translation. Go to classes, get books on subjects you are concerned about, and begin the lifelong process of learning the Word of God.
  • Do you make time to read the Word every day? Even if it's just a few verses in a devotional, that's better than nothing. See it like taking a spiritual vitamin for your spiritual health.
  • Have you ever thought about how engraving it into your heart makes it a part of you? Can you think of other things that seem to be bone deep in you? That's the way the Word should be.
  • Why would this affect your relationships with others? Why would this give us favor and understanding with God and man?
  • Is your heart hardened so that God's Word can't be written on it? Do you have a heart of stone? God can change that.

  • Have you ever been two-faced? Where you tell God one thing but tell people something else? Repentance leads to forgiveness and mercy. How can you turn this around in your life and be faithful and loyal to God as He has been to you?

  • Can you understand why mercy and truth should go together?

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

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