All posts by mannycoronilla

September 14, 2021

Isaiah 15:1–18:7

Warren Wiersbe, “The nation of Moab was born out of Lot’s incestuous union with one of his daughters (Gen. 19:30–38). It was a proud nation that would not honor the God of Israel but trusted in its fortifications. Pride is a sin that God hates (Prov. 6:16–17), whether in nations or in individuals, and it leads to judgment.”

The Assyrians would invade the land and the Moabites would mourn and weep publicly.

Isaiah 15:3 (NKJV) “In their streets they will clothe themselves with sackcloth; on the tops of their houses and in their streets everyone will wail, weeping bitterly.”

In Isaiah 16:3-4 many Bible teachers suggest that if Moab was wise they would have fled to Judah during this time, for Judah had been promised protection from the enemy. We DO know that one day the Messiah would reign in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 16:5 (NKJV) “In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.”

But Moab was proud, “very proud” and they would therefore weep and be drenched in their own tears (Isaiah 16:6, 9).

Isaiah 16:10 (NKJV) “Gladness is taken away, and joy from the plentiful field; in the vineyards there will be no singing, nor will there be shouting; no treaders will tread out wine in the presses; I have made their shouting cease.”

Moab’s “prayers” without repentance towards the one true God were futile. No, not all gods are the same!

Isaiah 16:12 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he will come to his sanctuary to pray; but he will not prevail.”

In Isaiah 17 God predicts the fall of Syria and Israel who had formed an alliance.

The burden against Damascus (Isaiah 17:1)

The glory of Jacob would wane (Isaiah 17:4)

Of course we know in Israel there would always be a remnant, a few grapes, two or three olives, so to speak (Isaiah 17:6). God would show mercy to Syria as well.

The day will come when Israel acknowledges their Messiah, their Maker.

Isaiah 17:7–8 (NKJV) “In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. 8 He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands; he will not respect what his fingers have made, nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.”

In the meantime the problem we have (they had) was they had forgotten God.

Isaiah 17:10-11b (NKJV) “Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold, therefore you will plant pleasant plants and set out foreign seedlings…but the harvest will be a heap of ruins in the day of grief and desperate sorrow.”

God help us to learn to live for God, our Maker and Redeemer, in true intimacy and sincerity, not looking to idols in any way. As we read the Scriptures we clearly see that our God is a just Judge, He IS to be feared in all reverence.

In Isaiah 18 we see a desperate nation in Ethiopia looking to the Northern Kingdom of Israel for help – but it would all be in vain. God would bring Assyria to judge this nation…who should have looked to the LORD of heaven’s armies and not the impotent armies of men.

Warren Wiersbe, “The people of Ethiopia (ancient Cush) sent ambassadors to Israel, hoping to form a strong alliance against Assyria, but the venture was doomed to fail. God was not in it, because all of man’s clever ideas are worthless if they run contrary to the will of God (1 Corinthians 3:18–20). First find His will, then do it!

In this chapter there are lessons for all the world.

On Isaiah 18:3 – Expositor’s Commentary wrote, “Isaiah calls the whole world to redirect its attention to the unmistakable signs of God’s activity in history.”

On Isaiah 18:7 – Bible Knowledge Commentary, “After the Assyrian defeat, the LORD would cause the people of Cush (cf. vv. 1–2) to take gifts to the Lord at Mount Zion, where His name dwelt. Whether this occurred after the fall of Assyria is not known. Possibly Isaiah was speaking of the millennial kingdom when peoples from around the world will worship the LORD (cf. Zechariah 14:16) because of His gracious acts.”

As we read of these nations being judged, I can’t help but think of how the world today is ripe for judgment. We’ve turned our backs on God, and on His Word. O Lord, in wrath remember mercy. Please Lord.

Galatians 1:1-24

This is the only letter that Paul writes addressed to multiple churches. Many Bible teachers believe Paul is addressing those churches they had planted on their first missionary journey as recorded in Acts 13-14. These were Christian congregations established by God, but false teachers had crept into the church, and were actually turning people away from Jesus (Galatians 1:6).

I’ve always been impressed at the passion in which Paul writes this letter (we will see it throughout). Paul was unique in that he was not appointed an Apostle  by man, or even through man (Galatians 1:1), but by he was appointed by God the Father through Jesus Christ. Paul brings this up because it gives “weight” to his words. It’s as if he’s saying, “Don’t listen to false teachers, please listen to someone directly called by God Himself.”

Paul was amazed at how the people were turning away from Jesus so soon, simply because someone moseyed on in and preached a different gospel (which was no gospel at all). They had perverted the Gospel by adding elements of Judaism as a requirement for salvation, especially the act of circumcision. Paul is so passionate about this, that he tells them – straight out – it doesn’t matter if it’s us, or an angel from heaven, listen, if anyone preaches any other gospel than what we’ve already preached to you, let that person be accursed (damned, sent to hell). This is serious stuff!

Paul goes on to explain that the gospel he had preached to them was not something he acquired by his own invention, or human education, no, it was by divine revelation. Paul shares his personal story. When he was saved, he didn’t “immediately confer with flesh and blood,” in other words he didn’t go to man and have him explain this to him – he didn’t go to Jerusalem, or to the Apostles – he went to God and His Word. His was a unique experience of the Gospel, saved and taught directly by Jesus. Paul spent three years in Arabia and it was there that God opened up the Bible to him, the Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (see Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16; 14:6).

After three years Paul went to Jerusalem for fifteen days, spending time with Peter and James (the Lord’s brother) but then he was sent home to Tarsus and continued to preach the Gospel that God had given to him.

All this to say that any other gospel is counterfeit; if it’s human it’s impotent, if it’s demonic it’s evil and the enemy is doing all that he can to bring us into bondage (a word found six times in Galatians). The enemy is fighting with full force to turn us away from the simplicity that is in Christ (Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:3).

My prayer, as we read through the book of Galatians, is that we’d rediscover the liberty we have in Christ. We’ve been saved and set free. May we use that liberty to love the Lord and to love His people (Galatians 5:13).

Psalm 58:1-11

Warren Wiersbe, “In words that may seem unchristian to us, David denounced the unjust rulers of his day, people who promoted evil by condemning the righteous and defending the wicked. In a prayer that would probably not be ‘Amened’ in churches today, he asked God to judge sinners and establish righteousness on the earth.”

It’s amazing to me, to see how some so easily speak lies, buy lies, and even live lies. So many people are deaf, not open to God, even though He loves us so much.

It’s also interesting to read David’s imprecatory prayers. I suppose David is just being honest with God in how he feels, “God get ‘em, break their teeth, let them melt like snails, may they not see the sun, LORD take them away with a whirlwind in Your burning wrath.”

It’s understandable to long for justice, but wit New Testament light Jesus teaches us to actually pray for our enemies.

Matthew 5:43-44 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Our hope is that our enemies will come to that place of repentance, for God will reward the righteous and judge the earth (Psalm 58:11).

Proverbs 23:12

Proverbs 23:12 (NKJV) “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.”

What would happen if there was an inclination of our hearts to hear God’s Word? A heart for instruction and application.

Seven times in Revelation 2-3 we have that exhortation, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church.”

It’s not enough to simply hear with our ears and our heads, we must hear with our hearts.

Charles Bridges said, “The best-taught Christian and the most advanced Christian will be the most earnest in seeking more instruction. He will gladly sit at the feet of the Lord’s ministers to hear the words of knowledge.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 13, 2021

Isaiah 12:1–14:32

Isaiah 12 is a chapter of personal praise for the salvation of the Lord. It may very well be from the heart of Isaiah, declaring the God of his salvation to be his strength and his song. Times were crazy, but he chose to trust the LORD, and NOT be afraid. 

Because we’re saved we have reason for joy, something Isaiah expresses in such a beautiful way:

Isaiah 12:3 (NKJV) “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

Is that me? Am I drawing from God’s wells? If I am, I will be filled and flooded with joy – with Spiritual abundance (John 10:10). If I am, I will have a heart to declare God’s deeds, to sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things! How awesome it is that God is in our midst! (Isaiah 12:6)

As we continue our adventure through the book of Isaiah we now begin to see fascinating aspects of prophecy and divine insight into the future as well as the past.

Isaiah spoke of the fall of Babylon even before the rise of Babylon. Isaiah spoke of something that would take place when the Medo-Persians conquered Babylon, but he also spoke of other aspects of fulfillment. I believe you can see partial fulfillment of when the nations of the world conquered Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. As you read through the chapter, you’ll also see aspects of God’s judgment on the entire world. It’s important for us as believers to simply know that God will bring justice (judgment) to everyone and every nation one day, somehow, someway.

Isn’t it fascinating how Isaiah is able to weave in (by the Holy Spirit) the fall of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12-17? Who is pulling the strings behind these wicked world-rulers? It’s the devil himself (Luke 4:6). Isaiah reveals the fact that Lucifer fell  from heaven because he wanted to exalt himself and be like the most high God…it was something he said in his heart (see Isaiah 14:13-14 – for the five “I wills”). One day we will see Satan and ask, “Is this the one who made the earth tremble?” Of course at that time we will be in our glorified bodies. For more on the fall of Satan also see Ezekiel 28:11-19.

Isaiah goes on to declare that God would judge Assyria, God would judge Babylon, God would judge Philistia…and with this understanding of God’s holiness – yes, God will judge our nation the United States of America and God will judge the world.

2 Corinthians 13:1-14

As Paul closes the letter, he ends it with the hopes that what he has written will bring about a change of heart in those people who doubted that he was an Apostle. He’s hoping that by the time he arrives in Corinth (this would be his third visit) there wouldn’t be any confrontations necessary.

I don’t know about you, but I hate drama. I’m uncomfortable with confrontations – but I also realize that there are going to be those times when we have no other option, we must deal with the sin in the camp. If we don’t address it, if we allow it to fester, it will ruin the flock. We read in:

Galatians 5:9 (NKJV) “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

Paul challenges the Corinthians to take a long look in the mirror, “Are you truly saved?” It appears that some were slanderously saying that Paul was disqualified – but maybe they were the ones who were disqualified, counterfeit Christians. They needed to get their lives right with God, we all do, because there’s someone else who’s coming again. Even today we are expecting another “visit” from someone much more important than Paul the Apostle – Jesus is coming!The first time He came in relative weakness, as a Lamb to save. The next time He comes it will be in absolute power, as a Lion to judge. Are we really ready for HIS coming?

Paul was hoping that things would be ironed out by the heat of his letter as opposed to the heat of his presence. Sometimes God has a tough message for us to hear and it hurts, but that’s only intended to protect us from harming ourselves and others. I love the way Paul repeatedly said that this “authority” he’d been given was intended for their edification. This is what “positions” of leadership are all about, that we might use that place for the better and benefit of the people.

In 2 Corinthians 13:9 Paul prays for the people to be made “complete.” He uses the same word in 2 Corinthians 13:11. And what we discover as Christians is that “positionally,” we are already complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10), but “practically,” we are a work in progress. To be “complete” in this sense is to grow to maturity. That’s my prayer for me, and that’s my prayer for the family and the flock.

What a beautiful benediction Paul shares in 2 Corinthians 13:11, become complete, be encouraged and encourage others, be united by putting on the mind of Christ, don’t just speak peace – live peace – and guess who shows up? The God of love and peace will “come” and bless our lives.

2 Corinthians 13:14 is another one of those explicit examples of the Trinity at work – grace, love, and fellowship, from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “One God in three Persons – equal in essence and nature, but different in function and office.”

Psalm 57:1-11

Some believe David was on the run for ten years from Saul, even though David had done nothing wrong. Living life in the caves of Adullam, hunted down like a beast, it must have had some very, very dark times. As we read the Psalms, David is honest about those trying times, but we also see his faith shine.

David didn’t just hide in the caves, he hid in the shadow of God’s wings – and he knew it would one day pass.

Psalm 57:1 (NKJV) “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.”

It’s important for us to know where we are (in God’s hands, under His protection) and to know that it’s only for a season. God will lift us up one day. David was hurting but David was confident of his eventual victory. He knew God would perform all things for good for him, that God would send from heaven and save him.

Notice David’s heart and determination to praise, even in the pit, confident – even in the crisis, that God would deliver him:

Psalm 57:7–8 (NKJV) “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. 8 Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn.”

Proverbs 23:9-11

Proverbs 23:9 (NKJV) “Do not speak {NLT don’t waste your breath} in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”

So, you try sharing wise words of truth, and the truth is, the scoffer will hate you (Proverbs 9:8). Jesus said they’ll trample the truth under their feet, and afterwards turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:6)

There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Jesus didn’t even waste His breath with Herod (Luke 23:8-9). In all honesty that “time” would be better invested somewhere else or in someone else who is genuinely open to God’s Word.

So as Charles Bridges said, “…the safe rule will be, never to speak without prayer for divine guidance…”

Proverbs 23:10-11 (NKJV) “Do not remove the ancient landmark, nor enter the fields of the fatherless; 11 For their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you.”

We saw this prohibition in Proverbs 22:28 which basically means don’t steal another man’s land, by moving those ancient landmarks.

Don’t even enter…the fields of the fatherless with bad intentions. The Hebrew word speaks of encroaching or intruding on a person’s territory. It’s hard to believe, but many would not dare to touch the rich, or strong, or powerful, but they’ll come against the poor, or the humble in heart.

There’s a heavy warning here! Similar to: 

Proverbs 22:22–23 (NLT) “Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. 23 For the Lord is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them.”

NET Notes, “The Hebrew term describes a “kinsman-redeemer.” That individual would be a rich or powerful relative who can protect the family; he does this by paying off the debts of a poor relative, buying up the property of a relative who sells himself into slavery, marrying the widow of a deceased relative to keep the inheritance in the family, or taking vengeance on someone who harms a relative, that vengeance often resulting in delivering (“redeeming”) the relative from bondage. If there was no human “kinsman redeemer,” then the defenseless had to rely on God to perform these actions (e.g., Genesis 48:16; Exodus 6:6; Job 19:25; Isaiah 41–63). In the prophetic literature God is presented as the Redeemer in that He takes vengeance on the enemies (the Babylonians) to deliverer His people (kin). In this proverb the Lord is probably the Protector of these people who will champion their cause and set things right.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 12, 2021

Isaiah 10:1–11:16

Imagine if Isaiah lived today! All the ungodly legislation that our lawmakers have passed and judges have approved would bring out the same indictment – amplified!

Isaiah 10:1 (NIV) “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees.”

There’s a “million” of them, but how about making the killing of babies, legal? Some even say it’s righteous! “Woe to them,” Isaiah would say (Isaiah 5:20) as He spoke on God’s behalf.

Isaiah 10:3 (NLT) “What will you do when I punish you, when I send disaster upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe?”

Isaiah also pronounces a heavy woe to Assyria, the rod of God’s anger (Isaiah 10:5). God used Assyria to execute His judgment upon the nations but Assyria was deceived into thinking it was by their own wisdom and power (Isaiah 10:13). It would be like an ax, or a saw, or a rod taking the credit for the job. Can an inanimate tool turn on the the one who wields it and boast against the one holding it – and using it? No…at least it shouldn’t. But that’s what Assyria did in its own fury and rage. So God promised to strike and judge Assyria. Israel would survive, a remnant would return and find grace (Isaiah 10:22) but such would not be the case for Assyria. They would shake their fist at Jerusalem, but God would use His fist, His ax against them, to chop them down (Isaiah 10:32-33).

Isaiah 11 is an absolutely awesome chapter about the coming King, Messiah, Christ-Jesus and His Millennial reign. Isaiah 11:1 describes that Jesus is both the root of Jesse (his Creator) but He’s also a descendant of Jesse through the lineage of David. 

The Spirit of the Lord would descend upon Jesus. Isaiah 11:2 describes seven attributes of the one Holy Spirit…symbolically alluded to in Revelation 1:4 as seven Spirits. Messiah and Christ refer to the fact that Jesus was “anointed” by the Holy Spirit (Daniel 9:25-26; John 1:41; Matthew 16:16).

When King Jesus rules on planet earth for one-thousand years it will be after the judgment of the Tribulation Period. He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth (He will simply speak it – Isaiah 11:4) and slay the wicked. Then for one-thousand years the world will be radically transformed under His leadership. The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat – these carnivorous animals who at one time were enemies, will not eat other animals. Even children will be safe with snakes…it’s God’s way of saying there will be peace and safety under our Savior’s reign.

All Israel will be gathered back to the land (something we already see beginning to take place) and all the world will seek Jesus the way they should. 

Isaiah 11:10 (NLT) “In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to Him, and the land where He lives will be a glorious place.”

During that time if anyone gets out of order Jesus will deal with them with a “rod of iron,” (Revelation 12:5; 19:15) and we Christians who will have been raptured by then, or will have passed in glory, will rule with Jesus for that thousand-years. 

When the thousand years is finished, Satan will be released from the abyss and he will muster up one final rebellion against God, but he and his followers will be completely crushed and judged and God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 20-21). 

We know, even in the midst of the crazy chaos of the days we live in – that the future if bright…the future is right…God wins!

2 Corinthians 12:11-21

Paul didn’t have an eraser to wipe away the things he’d written; he regretted the way he “boasted” in the previous section, but in one sense the people forced him to. They (and we) needed to know that he was called and commissioned as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Through Paul the church was planted, miracles were wrought, and God’s love was seen. The only thing he did “wrong” was not charge them for the ministry or take a salary from them (Paul was supported by other churches).

Paul was hoping that this letter would bring the Corinthians to repentance. This would be the third time he was coming to them – would it be a peaceful visit, or would he need to discipline them as a loving father would? 

In 2 Corinthians 12:15 Paul gives us a great description of ministry – in essence we who aspire to serve must be willing to be “spent” for the people – to lay down our lives for them. Some will love us, but many won’t. It hurts, but that’s the reality of the ministry and that’s the reality of life. We must continue to serve our Savior by serving His people whether they love us or not.

Paul’s ministry and ministers (such as Titus) were blameless. Paul had modeled and taught Titus to never take advantage of the people, on the contrary, to do all things for their edification (2 Corinthians 12:19).

Paul wanted so desperately for the church at Corinth to turn from their carnality. The things listed in 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 are tragically common in many churches.

Psalm 56:1-13

The background to this Psalm is when David fled to Gath, the land of the Philistines, who were able to identify David as their former enemy. The situation became very dangerous very quickly (1 Samuel 21:10-15; see also Psalm 34).

David admitted he was afraid, but he also chose to trust (Psalm 56:3). David faced his fears, and by faith erased his fears. Twice in this Psalm he encourages himself with those words, “I will not fear…I will NOT be afraid.” (Psalm 56:4, 11)

That’s faith over feelings.

Man can only do to us what God allows, so David asks leading questions, “What can flesh do to me?” “What can man do to me?” Nothing, apart from God’s permission.

Life as a child of God means we will always have His protection, but it doesn’t mean we won’t go through very trying times. David had his trials, tribulations, and many, many tears. David experienced years of wandering, but God was there and aware of it all…all the time.

Psalm 56:8 (NKJV) “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?”

In His book, God keeps track of our wanderings, He even stores every single tear we’ll ever cry in a bottle. I wonder if one day He’ll show it to us. Some of those bottles are going to be very, very big. The fact that God numbers our wanderings means that He limits our trials; the fact that these trials and tears are in His book means that one day we will be rewarded when we “pass” those types of tests.

This Psalm is another source of inspiration for Paul’s Romans 8:31. Did you notice those words there in Psalm 56:9, “…God is for me.”

Yes. He is. And if God is for us…

Proverbs 23:6-8

Proverbs 23:6-8 (NKJV) “Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words. “

It’s similar to what we read earlier in Proverbs 23:1-5, but instead of a ruler, this one’s a miser. The miser is literally the person with an evil eye, referring to a person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible.

The NIV call him a “stingy man…the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost.”

Proverbs 23:7 (NET) “…for he is like someone calculating the cost in his mind. 

Proverbs 28:22a (NKJV) “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches…”

Deuteronomy 15:9 warns of an evil eye that can be within any of us, where in one sense, our vision is against our brother.

If you have dinner with such a person you will have wasted your time and compliments, and now the host probably believes you’re indebted to them.

So the word here is not to eat the bread of a miser.

“Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”

NET Notes, “…it would be a mistake to accept hospitality from a stingy person. He is always thinking about the cost, his heart is not in it, and any attempt at pleasant conversation will be lost.”

I think one of the things we’re learning is to use wisdom in who you allow to treat you to dinner. Beware of the manipulative ruler, or the penny-pinching miser.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 11, 2021

Isaiah 8:1–9:21

God had an interesting name for Isaiah’s son, “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz,” it meant “Speed the spoil, hasten the booty.” When Isaiah’s wife (the prophetess) gave birth, this was the name they gave their child, for before he was old enough to speak basic words Israel and Syria would be plundered by the Assyrians. Why? Because of their sin.

We see it over, and over, and over again. God does discipline, God does judge, why won’t the world listen? Nationally and personally God eventually brings about justice.

King Ahaz of Judah hired the Assyrians rather than trusting the LORD. It cost his people. The Assyrians turned on Judah and invaded the land, conquering to the point of reaching their necks (Isaiah 8:8) it was bad and bloody, but by God’s grace they didn’t drown as a nation…for God was with them (Immanuel) (Isaiah 8:8, 10).

God commanded Isaiah not to buy the conspiracy theory of the people (Isaiah 8:12).

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “The Lord had promised to be with His people (Isaiah 8:10), but many in both Israel and Judah refused to believe He would keep His promise. The LORD warned Isaiah not to be like many of those people (Isaiah 8:11). Again Isaiah emphasized that the people of Judah should not be afraid of the Syria-Israel alliance or of the Assyrian threat looming on the horizon (Isaiah 8:12). Rather they were to be afraid of the LORD Almighty. He is the One they should fear and dread…”

Isaiah 8:13 (NKJV) “The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”

The people were seeking mediums and wizards, they were seeking the dead on behalf of the living. Isaiah called them back to the Bible:

Isaiah 8:20 (NKJV) “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Things haven’t changed much. Today we have people looking to “spirit-guides,” palm-readers, fortune-tellers, astrological horoscopes – in actuality they’re opening themselves up to demons! No! We need to stick to the Scriptures, God’s Word is the only source of light in this world of utter darkness.

Isaiah shifts gears, again prophesying about Jesus, the blessing He would be one day to the northern portion of Israel (Isaiah 9:1-3; see Matthew 9:14-16), and even the blessing Jesus will be to the whole wide world! Unto us a Child is born (Jesus’ humanity) and unto us a Son is given (Jesus’ deity). Isn’t it one of the most amazing prophecies of all?

Isaiah 9:6–7 (NKJV) “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

Clearly this is a prophecy about the future reign of Jesus the Messiah! How one day the Kingdom of God will take place literally on planet earth, O how we long for that day…until then let it take place internally, in my heart (Luke 17:21).

Warren Wiersbe said, “As you wait for His return, be sure the government of your life is on His shoulders. Let Him be to you all that His names proclaim, for every name that He bears is a blessing that He shares.”

The rest of Isaiah 9 speaks of the fact that God would punish Samaria, the capital of Israel (the northern kingdom) because they refused to change in spite of God’s loving discipline. May we learn from the errors of their way; God help us to grow, to change…to be His holy people.

Isaiah 9:13 (NKJV) “For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts.”

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Paul continues to defend his ministry with a few more “credentials.” Paul was caught up to the third heaven (the first heaven is our atmosphere; the second heaven is space, stars, and galaxies; and the third heaven is God’s dwelling place). Many Bible teachers believe this event occurred when Paul was stoned to death in Lystra (see Acts 14:19-20) it seems to fit the chronology of his life.

Paul considered it to be unlawful to share his experience in detail – perhaps because there are no words to adequately articulate Paradise with earthly words – or maybe it was because he didn’t want too much attention. Nowadays, people write books and make movies about their alleged trip to heaven and back.

At the end of the day, Paul does mention his experience as a whole…and I was thinking that this, along with the appearance of Christ to him on the road to Damascus must have been instrumental in making him the man of God he was.

With the trip to heaven, God also gave Paul a “thorn in the flesh.” We don’t know what this was precisely, some say it was a physical malady, others say it was an actual person, or demon. We do know that this messenger of Satan was somehow able to “buffet” Paul (beat Paul). So, he prayed, three times that God would take it away, but God said, “No.” The “thorn” kept Paul humble, the “thorn” kept Paul usable, the “thorn” made him acutely aware of his utter weakness, so that his only hope was the power of Christ. I need to be cognizant of the fact that oftentimes the best things for me are not the easiest things for me, or the things that are most comfortable. Physical weaknesses, illness, insults, needs, persecutions, circumstances under which I am subject to extreme pressure on behalf of Christ are things to take “pleasure” in for it forces me to rely on the Lord and therefore function in His strength.

Pastor Chuck Smith said, “Sometimes we find that we will never truly experience the strength of God until we first experience our own weakness in some glaring way. Do you want power? It might come through infirmities.”

Psalm 55:1-23

We may not be able to pinpoint the exact background to this Psalm, after all, David was fiercely opposed many times in his life. Was it when Saul came against him? Was it when Ahithophel betrayed him by joining Absalom’s rebellion?

Ultimately it was the enemy, and David knew where to run. He ran to God in praise and prayer.

David tells us his heart was severely pained within him (Psalm 55:4). It especially hurts when those who oppose you are friends you used to have sweet fellowship with. 

Psalm 55:12–14 (NKJV) “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. 13 But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. 14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.”

Beware of flattery which can often be a form of manipulation; the words are smoother than butter, but war is in their hearts (Psalm 55:21).

David gave himself to prayer – morning, noon, and night (Psalm 55:17). He knew the promise of God and shared it with the righteous:

Psalm 55:22 (NKJV) “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

The enemy, the world, and the flesh are constantly opposing us; let’s be sure to give it to God in earnest and heartfelt prayer. Therein God will take care of us to the point of keeping us in His perfect plan.

Proverbs 23:4-5

Proverbs 23:4-5 (NKJV) “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not?  For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.

The New English Translation puts verse 4 this way:

Proverbs 23:4 (NET) “Do not wear yourself out to become rich; be wise enough to restrain yourself.”

A couple of things to consider in these two verses:

1. Don’t overwork to be rich.

2. Don’t foolishly put yourself in a position where you have to work and work and work overtime hours or multiple jobs because you have multiple boats, and multiple cars, and all the bling – where you buy in to all the world is offering.

Here we read that one day it’ll all “fly away” (if not immediately it will eventually; see Matthew 6:19-20).

“Because of your own understanding, cease…” What do we “understand” about riches?

One thing I “understand” is that contentment is a choice, not based on how much I have, but Who I have (Hebrews 13:5). Another thing I know is that I can’t serve both God and riches (mammon) equally – my loyalty will be tested eventually (Matthew 6:24).

It’s not easy in the materialistic world that I live in, the temptation is strong but Paul’s statement speaks to this:

Philippians 4:12–13 (NKJV) “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Christ helps us triumph over this temptation.

Not that riches are bad; some people can handle it…but most can’t and all must make sure it’s not their focus.

Charles Bridges said, “If riches come as a result of God’s blessing, receive them thankfully, and consecrate them wisely and freely to Him. But to wear yourself out trying to become rich is to follow earthly wisdom, not the wisdom from above.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 10, 2021

A very brief word – praying you have a blessed day!

Isaiah 6:1–7:25

Uzziah was a good king (not perfect but good – and godly, he was a believer). Isaiah was probably more than bummed but worried when King Uzziah died. It would be as if we in the United States of America had a good and godly president – we might fret if he’s no longer with us, no longer in power. But it was at that point that Isaiah was reminded, the LORD is still on the throne! Isaiah saw the LORD high and lifted up, holy, holy, holy, in all of His glory. John tells us that it was actually a vision of Jesus that Isaiah saw (John 12:37-41).

When Isaiah found himself in the presence of God, he was convicted of his sin, and knew he was deserving of death. But God met him there in his confession and with the coals from the altar of sacrifice, Isaiah was cleansed.

Isaiah then heard a conversation going on between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (did you notice the word “Us”)

Isaiah 6:8a (NKJV) “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’”

Isaiah responded. In the Hebrew language it’s as if Isaiah was jumping up and down to get God’s attention, “Lord, Lord, do you see me? Here am I…send me!”

God saw…and God sent (just as He does all of us who are willing to go and do and say His will). It wouldn’t be a “successful” ministry for Isaiah in the eyes of men. Most people in Israel and Judah would not listen to his words and therefore hardened their hearts. Isaiah wondered how long his ministry would be, how long would he be required to speak? God told him until the nation crossed the line of judgment. There would be a remnant (there always is) but most in the world do not really listen to the voice of God spoken through His people.

Warren Wiersbe, “True worship leads to service. You hear God’s call, and you respond with obedience. God did not send Isaiah to a receptive people or give him an easy message to preach. But when you have seen the Lord and felt His touch, you can obey His will without fear.”

In Isaiah 7 the prophet meets with King Ahaz, king of Judah (who was a bad king) assuring him that God would defeat the invading nations of Israel and Syria. Isaiah told the king to ask for a sign, which in his doubt and self-righteousness he declines. Isaiah offered the sign anyways and we read the dual prophecy in:

Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV) “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

In Isaiah’s day this would refer to someone who at the time of the prophecy was not married but did eventually get married and have a child naturally…but if you fast forward seven hundred years, it would be in reference to Mary, who was a virgin at the time she gave brith to Jesus Christ. This passage is quoted and explained in Matthew 1:18-25.

As you read through Isaiah you will see many prophecies of Jesus, so many that some teachers refer to it as the Gospel of Isaiah.

King Ahaz was given the promise and even the sign in his day, but he did not obey Isaiah’s challenge:

Isaiah 7:9b (NKJV) “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.”

King Ahaz went on to hire the Assyrians to defeat Israel and Syria rather than trusting in God and His promise. God DID deliver the nation of Judah from Assyria, but it would seal the doom of Ahaz himself – HE was not established.

Assyria went on to conquer Israel and carry them away…the same thing would happen to Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. Lessons for me – and all of us…to believe and behave.

2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Paul ends up boasting (he’s kinda forced to). These false teachers were manipulating a portion of the church, dominating them. Similar to a coach who’s overbearing on his team. For some strange reason, certain athletes appreciate being pushed to the point of being pushed around. That may be the way the world operates, but it’s not the way the church is to be run! We are never to be shoving leaders, but loving leaders; we are not to be dominant leaders, but servant-leaders. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:20 that these guys were enslaving the people, taking advantage of them, controlling, and even slapping them in the face! Paul says, we were too weak to do that!

Paul goes on to boast, but he doesn’t boast about the churches he’s planted, or the people he’s healed, the conversions he’s seen, or the disciples he’s made – he knows that all that is the work of God and God alone. He does boast about the pain and sacrifices he’s made, because he wants to communicate the fact that he’s not in it for himself. He’s simply a servant, a slave, willing to suffer for the Lord. That’s the ministry. It’s not convenient or glamorous or self-aggrandizing, especially if one is effective – that person will be a target of the enemy!

Some people measure their ministry by the size of their building, or body, or budget. Paul measured his ministry by the size of his sacrifice…and we should too. Not that we purposely go and get arrested or beaten, endangering our lives, but we must go wherever God calls us to go and do whatever it is He’s called us to do…it’s as simple as that.

As I sift through this list, I hear God’s voice to labor more, even to the point of weariness and toil; to journey more, sleep less, and fast more frequently. How about you?

Psalm 54:1-7

This Psalm was written when the Ziphites revealed the location of David (it happened twice; 1 Samuel 23:19; 26:1) when Saul was hunting him down.

David sings and prays for God’s protection from Saul, his army, and even strangers who had come against him for no reason – David had done nothing wrong!

I’m inspired by the declarations of deliverance David makes. When others may have simply surrendered, given up, and lost all faith, David sings of his certain victory…how God would protect him and deal with his enemies:

“Behold God is my helper.” (Psalm 54:4)

“For He has delivered me out of all trouble…” (Psalm 54:7)

David sang as if it were already done. We can do the same!

Proverbs 23:1-3

Proverbs 23:1-3 (NKJV) “When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; 2 And put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. 

I’m sure you’ve heard it said, the way to man’s heart is through his stomach. It’s sad but it’s true, and that appetite can make us do some crazy things…so if you’re a “foodie” you might end up a “fooly” – be careful.

Lest that leader, that lover, that boss or that boy wine-and-dine you. Believe it or not, we can be fooled with food. That’s what the devil did to Adam & Eve, and Esau. After being set, free from slavery the children of Israel wanted to go back to bondage in Egypt because of the meat and the melons – they missed the food.

“God gives bread for our needs, but we crave meat for our lusts.” So be careful, when it comes to food and everything else the flesh might want. I remember Pastor Raul Ries used to always say, “Keep your appetites under control.”

The Hebrew grammar in this Proverb emphasizes the careful discernment required on such occasions.

To put a knife to your throat is not to be taken literally; it simply means to, “Be stern and resolute with yourself…” or you may get deceived by others.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 9, 2021

Something Different Today

Isaiah 3:1–5:30

The book of Isaiah speaks frequently of judgment…even God’s people are judged (disciplined) but they’re not destroyed (thank God for His grace!)

The time would come when Assyria would carry Israel away in captivity (722 B.C.). The time would also come when Babylon would carry away the southern kingdom of Judah to captivity (586 B.C.) but the Jews would not be forsaken…God still had plans for Israel.

In today’s reading our heart aches to see the devastation the Jews experienced – the judgment, the oppression. We read the reason in:

Isaiah 3:8 (NKJV) “For Jerusalem stumbled, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of His glory.”

Isaiah 3:9 tells us that they flaunted their sins in God’s face, they didn’t even try to hide it, so they brought it (the judgment) upon themselves.

Towards the end of Isaiah 3 we read the painful details of God’s judgment upon the wealthy women of Israel who were also wicked:

Isaiah 3:24 (NLT) “Instead of smelling of sweet perfume, she will stink. She will wear a rope for a sash, and her elegant hair will fall out. She will wear rough burlap instead of rich robes. Shame will replace her beauty.”

God help us to learn through His Word about His loving discipline. As we read of Israel’s judgment for their sins, may it purify us to have a healthy fear of God (Hebrews 12:3-11).

But then Isaiah shift gears and speaks of the Branch of the Lord, which is a reference to Jesus (see also Isaiah 11:1-2). Jesus will be beautiful and glorious – He will rule the earth. The prophet writes in Isaiah 4:2-6 about the Millennial Kingdom. This is the thousand-year reign of Christ which takes place after the Tribulation Period and before the new heavens and the new earth. During the Millennial Kingdom the world will have peace, the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing (Isaiah 4:2) it will be a time of “shade” from the heat, a refuge from the storm.

Isaiah 5 identifies Israel as God’s vineyard. God did everything He could to ensure that this vineyard brought forth good grapes, but tragically it didn’t – it’s grapes were bad, bitter, wild. So God judged His people. This wouldn’t be the last time (see Matthew 21:33-46).

Today the church has been sort of grafted into the vineyard or olive tree (Romans 11; John 15). God expects us to bear fruit, more fruit, and even much fruit. I have to examine my life…am I bearing fruit? “What is fruit?” you might ask. Here’s a produce list to begin that examination. Does this describe my life?

Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

Another place to look for fruit would be 1 Corinthians 13. Does this list of a loving person describe me? Read it slowly…

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (NKJV) “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.”

Am I a loving person? Are you? Is there fruit?

God does everything He can to produce fruit in our lives…but He DOES give us a choice.

Isaiah closes the chapter with six “woes” upon the people – they were not bearing fruit. People eager to get drunk, people wise in their own eyes, people holding on to their sin with ropes, people who had rejected God’s Word (Isaiah 5:24). Society then, reminds me of society now, especially in light of Isaiah 5:20.

Isaiah 5:20 (NLT) “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”

People then (like today) had everything backwards, upside down, and inside out. They had their own standards and codes of conduct based on the desires of the flesh and the context of the culture. Woe to those who call evil good…and good evil. God is patient, but God is also holy, and He will judge the world.

2 Corinthians 11:1-15

It’s been said that, “A shepherd’s work can never be done without a shepherd’s heart.” I can’t help but think of David who, as a shepherd, protected his sheep, even to the point of killing lions and bears! (1 Samuel 17:34-36) This is what Paul is doing in this chapter – he fears lest the people be led astray by these false teachers who were trying to undermine his ministry, and take over the church.

2 Corinthians 11:3 has always been a heavy verse to me because Paul was fearful that if a false teacher came in and preached a different Jesus, or a different Spirit, or a different Gospel, the people just might put up with it. Paul wanted to protect them from being corrupted. Tragically, I see it all the time, the cults preying on people who don’t know their Bibles and what it teaches about Jesus. Paul was forced to defend himself in order to defend the flock.

These false teachers questioned Paul’s calling and they criticized his teaching style. They even thought Paul was wrong or weak in that he wasn’t supported by the Corinthians financially. Paul asks in verses 2 Corinthians 11:7-9, “Did I do wrong in not charging you?” Paul was supported by other churches while he was in Corinth and there were other times that he worked with his own hands to support himself. For Paul it was never about being rich or famous, he only wanted to be real and right in God’s sight, he wanted to be faithful. He truly loved the people and God knew it!

2 Corinthians 11:11 (NKJV) “Why? Because I do not love you? God knows!”

Paul was writing this letter to the Corinthians – and he was on his way to Corinth to make sure that these wolves among them were not allowed to take over the church. Paul called them, “false apostles,” and “deceitful workers.” He then reveals something super interesting, that Satan is able to transform himself into an angel of light. Some people mistakenly think that Satan can only show up as a hideous monster, or in red, with horns, a pointy tail, and a pitchfork…it’s not that way. Satan can make himself “look good,” and so can his menacing ministers. Beware friend.

Psalm 53:1-6

The primary principle of this Psalm is the ultimate defeat of those who persecute God’s people – and the rescue of God’s redeemed; but we learn other truths along the way.

This Psalm is almost identical to Psalm 14, some might ask why? Why would we have a Psalm repeated almost verbatim? I always like to say, “It’s repeated so we won’t be defeated,” God repeats things for emphasis.

Only a fool would say there is no God. (there are many “fools” in the world today).

Many people would never articulate that with their lips (claiming to be an atheist) but many articulate that with their lives because that’s what they say in their hearts, “There is no God.” There is no God I’m accountable to, there is no God who sees me or hears me, there is no God who’s with me. The majority of the world is not necessarily positional atheists, they’re more of what we would call “practical atheists.”

Apart from God, there is none (not one) who does good. Paul the Apostle refers to this truth in Romans 3:10, 12 while teaching us that we’re all guilty before God. When we admit that guilt, we plead guilty before Jesus, which enables us to be covered with His righteousness made perfectly innocent – forever.

Proverbs 22:28-29

Proverbs 22:28 (NKJV) “Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.”

To remove an ancient landmark would be the equivalent of stealing a portion of property from our next-door-neighbor.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Six times the Bible mentions the sin of moving boundary stones (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17; Job 24:2; Proverbs 22:28; 23:10; Hosea 5:10). A farmer could easily increase the extent of his own land and decrease his neighbor’s by moving the stones at the boundary lines.”

Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV) “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”

I thought of athletes and successful business men who are invited to the White House due to the fact that they excelled in their respective professions.

This is a challenge to work hard, to excel in our labor…such excellence will be rewarded.

Charles Bridges, “Diligence, even without godliness, is often the way to advance in the world. But when we serve the Lord, we will have the honor of standing before the King of kings. Our whole life should be spent so that we will hear his words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ (Matthew 25:21–23).”

Take a few minutes to take it a step further. Submit the information below and be blessed…it would be cool to hear from you!

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 8, 2021

Isaiah 1:1–2:22

We now enter the last section of the Old Testament:

1. The Historical Books (Genesis – Esther)

2. The Poetical Books (Job – Song of Solomon)

3. The Prophetical Books (Isaiah – Malachi)

Isaiah begins with an indictment of God’s people Israel (in this context it would include Judah). After all that God had done for them – they still rebelled. They were ungrateful children who were worse than domesticated animals. At least the ox is aware of its owner, but God’s people were oblivious to who it was that actually took care of them, fed them, protected them, and owned them (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 on the fact that God owns us).

God was nauseated by the mere “religion” of Israel. Their sacrifices were repulsive to Him, their incense (prayers) were an abomination to Him. God wanted the people to go beyond superficial religion – He wanted to them to be real in their relationship with Him, to live the life of a true-blue believer. If they did (have genuine faith), God would forgive them of all their sins!

Cease to do evil…learn to do good (Isaiah 1:6b-17a).

I love God’s invitation to reason:

Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV) “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

What a beautiful promise! By genuine faith in Jesus Christ – even if our sins were/are the worst, God is willing to wash them away…to make us 100% forgiven and free!

God was calling His people back to Him, He wanted to purge them of their sin (Isaiah 1:25). I pray we would all be in RIGHT relationship with God.

One of the things you’ll notice as you go through the book of Isaiah is he shifts gears suddenly. In chapter 2 he shifts to the Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 2:1-4) where there will be one-thousand years of peace on earth as Jesus rules from Jerusalem. But then Isaiah shifts gears again to the Day of the LORD (the day of judgment on planet earth – BEFORE – the Millennial Kingdom). You can read more about this “Day of Judgment” in Revelation chapters 6-19.

Jesus came the first time as a Lamb, but He’s coming the second time as a Lion. He came the first time as Savior, but He’s coming the second time as Judge. Isaiah 2:21 speaks of the fact that He (Jesus) will rise to shake the earth mightily. If you look around today at the way our world has rejected the Word-and-ways of God, it’s easy to see, we’re ripe for judgment.

First the church will be raptured out of this world(this can happen any time).

Then God will judge the world.

John wrote something similar to Isaiah 2:19 in:

Revelation 6:15–17 (NKJV) “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

2 Corinthians 10:1-18

It’s heartbreaking to read in 2 Corinthians 10:2 that there were some there in Corinth who thought Paul ministered in the flesh (carnally, sinfully). Imagine that, the Lord’s beloved Apostle, writer of at least thirteen books in the Bible, clearly and unequivocally called by God, accused of such things.

Paul was no doubt tempted to lash back, but he didn’t…he approached them meekly and gently. This is his third letter, and it would be his third visit (2 Corinthians 13:1). Paul was attempting to settle things peacefully – without drama, but if that unrepentant minority continued to create confusion and division in the church, Paul was ready and willing to boldly confront them on his next visit.

They accused him of ministering in the flesh, but Paul explains to them that the battle was spiritual and so were his weapons. We’re in a spiritual war and therefore we fight with things like prayer, the Sword of the Spirit, the love of God, and the Armor of God. Have you ever noticed that the moment we try to fight with carnal (fleshly) weapons we lose? If I lose my temper, I lose the battle (see James 1:19-20). On the flip-side, when we fight the good fight, we pull down the enemies’ fortresses and lies lodged within the heart of the people. When we bring every thought to the obedience of Christ, we deal real blows to the enemy.

There were some in Corinth who looked at Paul, only through the eyes of the flesh. They thought he was all talk from a distance, impressed with his letters, but not impressed with his speech (maybe he wasn’t smooth or eloquent in his delivery). They were not impressed by his looks either. Sandy Adams writes that, “Paul was not impressive in appearance. Tradition tells us that he was short, bald, ugly, sickly, and may have spoken with a lisp. But he warns his critics not to judge a book by its cover.”

I love the way Paul “caught” the teaching of Christ – that as leaders with “authority” – we only have that authority so that we can serve others and build them up (2 Corinthians 10:8). But there was a false teacher in Corinth who was trying to deceive the people and take the congregation away the influence of Paul. Pastor Chuck Smith elaborates on this, “Paul had taken the gospel to the Corinthians, but another man was building on the foundation Paul had laid. There are always those who come into an established work and try to draw people after themselves. This man in Corinth was trying to build himself up by tearing Paul down.”

Paul was cognizant of the fact that God had called him to serve the Corinthians and they were part of his God-given responsibility. The enemy was trying to ruin the work, but Paul had a heart for the people to grow. Paul even hoped that God would cary the work even farther through them (1 Corinthians 10:15-16). Isn’t that what we want? Lord work IN us, and then also work THROUGH us. The enemy will do everything he can to stop that “grow-flow.”

Paul quotes from Jeremiah 9:24 – that all the glory must be given to God, not men. These guys commended themselves, but it was God who had commended, appointed, anointed, and approved Paul.

It’s too bad that Paul had to defend himself…but he needed to in order to protect the flock from selfish men. 

Psalm 52:1-9

Doeg the Edomite lied to King Saul about Ahimelech the priest, saying that he had inquired of the LORD on David’s behalf. 

Doeg painted a picture portraying Ahimelech as a traitor to the king, when that was not the case. King Saul, however, believed the lie and this led to the slaughter of eighty-five priests and an entire city – the city of Nob, which included women and children (1 Samuel 21-22).

It all started with a half-truth, which we know is a whole lie (1 Samuel 22:10). The tongue of Doeg devised destruction, it sliced like a razor and was responsible for the death of many innocent people.

Doeg WAS a loving man – he loved evil (Psalm 52:4) and he loved to destroy others with his words (Psalm 52:4).

David wrote this Psalm to declare Doeg’s downfall, his judgment, which was worse than physical death; it would be eternal death, forever and ever.

How did it all happen?

With a simple lie. I believe Doeg wanted a promotion, he wanted to advance in the kingdom, he wanted to get in good with Saul (1 Samuel 21:7; 22:6-10). How about you? Do you want a “promotion?” Do you want to advance in the world? Be careful. It’s a lesson for us – how we’re all susceptible to “little” lies about others to make ourselves look good, painting things in a different light, committing character assassination. We need the Lord to tame our tongue…we need to learn the danger of such dialogue…from the tragedy of Doeg.

Psalm 52:7 (NKJV) “Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”

Proverbs 22:26-27

Proverbs 22:26-27 (NKJV) “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; 27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?”

This passage frowns on the cosigning of loans for others. God tells us repeatedly in the Proverbs not to cosign for a “stranger” – of the danger involved (Proverbs 6:1; 11:15; 20:16; 27:13).  Some say it’s okay to cosign for your child, maybe on a small loan of some sort, but even then – be so careful. Financial Advisor Dave Ramsey would counsel against it, especially in the case of a home loan.

The reason is found in Proverbs 22:27 – if someone needs a cosigner it means their credit is not established. If they haven’t proven the ability to pay their bills, maybe they won’t pay their bills – and if they don’t, the creditors will come after you – you can lose all you’ve worked hard for all your life.

It’s NOT wise to cosign.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 7, 2021

Song of Solomon 5:1–8:14

The Song of Solomon is a very detailed (but symbolic) expression of love and sexual intimacy. I would encourage husbands and wives to study it in-depth and discover for themselves the meaning behind the many metaphors. It’s important for us to keep in mind that sexual intimacy within the confines of marriage is a wonderful gift from God to be thoroughly enjoyed and kept holy and pure (Hebrews 13:4).

Solomon sees his wife as his sister, his love (Song of Solomon 5:2) he wants to be with her (if you know what I mean) but she’s having one of those nights…she’s tired, she hesitates, and then it’s too late, she ends up regretting her decision. He’s now distant, she’s missing him, problems. Her friends ask her, “What’s so special about your man?” And the Shulamite takes the time to list all the outstanding qualities of her husband. She appreciates his head, his hair, his eyes, his cheeks, his lips, his hands, his body, his legs, his face, his mouth:

Song of Solomon 5:16 (NKJV) “…Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!

Is your husband altogether lovely? Is he your friend?

Solomon takes some time to reciprocate the compliments. Her hair, her teeth, her temples, her curves are as the sculpture of a skillful artist! Her navel, her waist, her breasts, her neck, her eyes, her nose, her head, her hair (again). Every man and woman needs to know they’re loved and appreciated by his or her spouse. Our wives especially need to know their husbands love them and WANT them, and they can tell…if it’s real or not.

Song of Solomon 7:10 (NKJV) “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.”

The end of the book seems to describe a second honeymoon, or getaway, or maybe even the couple returning to where it all started. It’s good to do all the above. Husbands and wives get away, just the two of you. Never let the fiery romance die (Song of Solomon 8:6). 

I can honestly say that after salvation, my wife has been the “gift” of my life, the biggest blessing of all…I’m rich because of her, and it is through her that I received my children. I thank God for Shelly and the love we’ve had together.

Song of Solomon 8:7 (NKJV) “Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.”

So true…if its real love all the trials, toils, and troubles of life will only deepen our love. What good would it be if a man had all the riches in the world, but didn’t have this love of his life?

If you’re married I pray you’d fall in love more and more – grow in love.

If you’re single, I pray you’d wait on the Lord (Song of Solomon 8:4) and always let Jesus be the first love of your life – He is the only one who can give you peace (Song of Solomon 8:10).

2 Corinthians 9:1-15

I think it’s important to keep in mind that Paul wasn’t presenting this opportunity for the people to give in order that he might benefit from it – this offering was for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. I’m amazed and even angered when I see some televangelists soliciting for money that contributes to their lavish lifestyle. Ministers should never live above the people. This is why Paul warned his protégé in: 

1 Timothy 6:8-9 (NKJV) “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”

Paul had boasted about the Corinthian’s earnest desire to give, and everyone was stirred up by their generous heart. Paul now wanted to make sure that when his team arrived in Corinth, the contribution would be completed so that no one would be embarrassed – neither he nor they.

For the rest of the chapter Paul teaches us that giving can be compared to sowing seeds in the ground. If you sow little, you’ll reap little; but if you sow bountifully, you will also reap bountifully. Makes sense to me.

Of course, the true motive is not giving so that I might get – for that’s not love – and this whole act of benevolence is motivated by love (2 Corinthians 8:24). But Paul does want us to know that as we give to God we can trust God to take care of us in every way. We must not give grudgingly or out of obligation, for God loves a cheerful (literally “hilarious”) giver. We should give generously, obediently, and purposely; God will show us what to give (as we purpose in our hearts).

2 Corinthians 9:10 is interesting because there we see that God is the one who supplies the very “seed” we sow. He also makes it to grow to grain, wherein we might have bread for food – and even the fruits of righteousness – it’s all Him!

2 Corinthians 9:11 teaches us that after giving we are blessed and that causes us to give even more thanksgiving to God. Jesus did say:

Acts 20:35 (NKJV) “…‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

2 Corinthians 9:13 teaches us that our generosity to the poor brings them to a place where they glorify God.

2 Corinthians 9:14 teaches us that they (who we’ve given to) pray for us, who give. How important are those prayers? Can you see the blessings all the way around? Again, I think it’s insightful how Paul describes this whole realm of giving with the word “grace.”

O Lord, please grant me that grace to give more and more to You.

2 Corinthians 9:15 has always been one of my favorite Christmas passages. There are no works we can work, or words we can express that would adequately communicate how grateful we are that the gift of Jesus our Savior has been given to us! Amen?

Psalm 51:1-19

David was on top of the world – – a dangerous place to be. The tragic story is chronicled in 2 Samuel chapters 11-12 when David fell into sexual sin with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and tried to wiggle his way out of it. When that didn’t work he orchestrated the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah (who was one of his mighty men – 1 Chronicles 11:10, 41). After the adultery and murder he simply went on with his merry life – thinking he could get away with it.

It’s not gonna happen…there’s no way.

The sin weighed heavy on David, it separated him from God for close to a year, and it wasn’t until Nathan came and clearly (supernaturally) confronted David, that he finally came clean. This is the background to this Psalm penned by David.

In this Psalm David is pleading for mercy and forgiveness; he acknowledged his sin, what he had done and even who he was. Psalm 51:5 teaches us that we’re all born-sinners, we’re born with original sin, we all have the nature of Adam after the fall (Romans 5:12) and we need God’s grace.

But the only way we can experience that forgiveness is to confess our sin and forsake it.

Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

This Psalm is a vivid expression of what happens when we try to hide our sin (a terrible thing to do) and what can happen if we’re completely honest…if we come clean and confess. It’s not religion that God is looking for, it’s a true and total transparency, in conjunction with a yielded life.

I encourage you to sift through this special Psalm, slowly, and prayerfully. We all need forgiveness to a certain degree. We all need a new start from time to time. We all need that reminder to be real.

Psalm 51:16–17 (NKJV) “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.”

God forgave David’s sin and restored his relationship with Him, but there would be heavy, heavy consequences (2 Samuel 12:10-14). Let’s learn from David’s mistake – let’s do all we can to stay sexually pure. But let’s also remember that God can forgive any sin and sinner – He can even make us white as snow – IF we repent.

Proverbs 22:24-25

Proverbs 22:24-25 (NKJV) “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, 25 Lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.”

I remember some of the guys in high school were always looking for a fight. I knew that if I hung out with them, there’d be trouble. People grow older, but they don’t always grow up, those “fights” (hurt and anger) get poured out on others. This Proverbs warns us not to make the angry and furious man our go-to guy…lest we end up the same way. 

You might remember that old parental adage, “Tell me who you’re walking with and I’ll tell you who you are.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV) “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’”

Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV) “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 6, 2021

Song of Solomon 1:1–4:16

The Song of Solomon is another very unique book in the Bible. At face value it’s a beautiful love story between King Solomon and his beloved Shulamite. There are different characters in this “drama” and you can follow along as this couple goes through the different stages in their relationship:

1. Falling in Love  – courtship (1:1-3:5)   

2. United in Love – marriage (3:6-5:1)   

3. Struggling in Love – problems (5:2-7:10)  

4. Growing in Love – progress/permanence (7:11-8:14)

Not only is this seen as a simple love story between Solomon and his beloved Shulamite, some also see it as a love story between God the Father and Israel – or – God the Son (Jesus) and the church (the Bride). It’s beautiful to consider the deep and intimate love relationship we have with the Lord.

I recently taught through this book filled with much symbolism, so if you wanted to study it more in-depth, feel free to check out the links below

[Song of Solomon 1:1-3:5] (

[Song of Solomon 3:5-5:1] (

Often times couples neglect that romantic part of their relationship – and we shouldn’t. There should be kisses, there should be expressions of love, there should be cologne and perfume (we should want to smell good for each other).  There should be compliments. It may not sound romantic that Solomon compared his girl to a “filly among Pharaoh’s chariots,” but it was. He was telling her how exciting it was to be with her!

When Solomon tells her that she has dove’s eyes (Song of Solomon 1:15) – it’s a way of saying they only have eyes for each other! That’s the way it should be between couples.

When Solomon compared his girl to all other girls, there was no comparison. She was like a lily among thorns (Song of Solomon 2:2). Do you husbands out there see your wife like that? We should. Tell her!

Here’s a phrase we’re read repeatedly:

Song of Solomon 2:7b (NKJV) “Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.”

Song of Solomon 2:7 (NLT) “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem…not to awaken love until the time is right.”

The right person at the right time. Don’t hurry “love,” because it might not be true love. I like to tell my children to wait on the Lord, and wait for that man who truly loves you. Be careful single people…let the Lord lead you. If you don’t, you might stir up or wake up a monster.

When the Lord brings the right person into your path – we can answer that invitation – we rise up and come away to a new life, a new adventure. This couple is now engaged, they’re beginning to realize the importance and even permanence of marriage.  They’re beginning to realize that when they get married they will belong to each other.

Song of Solomon 2:16a (NKJV) “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”

This truth is also taught in 1 Corinthians 7:4.

Song of Solomon chapter 3 begins with a dream (or nightmare) in which the Shulamite couldn’t find her beloved. When she found him she wouldn’t let go (Song of Solomon 3:4). And that’s what the Scriptures tell us to do when we get married, we leave all other “relationships” and cleave to our spouse (we never let go).

Song of Solomon chapter 4 is filled with compliments that Solomon had for his wife. Nowadays these words might not sound all that flattering, but back in those days, this was big-time romantic. Solomon saw only good in his wife:

Song of Solomon 4:7 (NKJV) “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.”

They do say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

It’s easy to do when you’re a new couple, but maybe you’ve been married for a while and you need to open your eyes a little wider (maybe a lot wider). What was it that brought you two together in the first place? What attracted you to each other? What qualities do you appreciate in your spouse. Tell them what they are, or maybe even write it in a note, a letter, or a card.

I’ll close this section with a beautiful expression of the way his wife had captured his heart, and even an expression of their bond of faith. My wife is not only my lover, she’s my sister, in Christ…and I’m eternally grateful for that!

Song of Solomon 4:9–10 (NKJV) “You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. 10 How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices!”

I’ll never need wine again…the Lord’s gift of salvation, my wife, and family are wonderful and sufficient sources of joy that exceeds anything wine or worldliness can ever offer!

2 Corinthians 8:16-24

Paul closes the chapter with assuring the Corinthians that there would be great accountability financially in carrying the gift to Jerusalem.  Titus was among that team of disciples responsible to transport the donation, along with two other well-known brothers chosen by the church to accompany them. This would keep everyone accountable, this was honorable, the team was responsible, and therefore blameless and above reproach. It’s tragic today to see so many ministers steal God’s money. Billy Graham said that the three things that will ruin a minister are, “Pride, women, and money.” It’s for that reason there must be many, many safeguards, checks and balances, in the area of church finances.

Titus was a blessing because he earnestly cared for the people – God put that care inside of his heart (2 Corinthians 8:1).

Paul was blessed that the Corinthians were willing to help the poor saints in Jerusalem – he saw it as love in action, as love proven (2 Corinthians 8:24).

Psalm 50:1-23

Judgment begins in the House of the Lord among His people (1 Peter 4:17), so it is of utmost importance that there be no hypocrisy among us, especially us leaders.

God’s not interested in ruts, and religious rituals, in the so-called “sacrifices,” after all He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).

God wants us as His people to live a life of gratitude and obedience (Psalm 50:14).

God wants us to pray in the day of trouble, to truly seek Him wholeheartedly.

Psalm 50:15 (NKJV) “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

The wicked (in this context pointing to hypocrites in God’s house) don’t have the right to declare God’s statutes (teach) or even claim to be God’s people (Psalm 50:16). The wicked don’t obey God’s Word, they even hate God’s Word:

Psalm 50:17 (NKJV) “Seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you?

A heavy, heavy warning is issued to us the “so-called” saints of God, and anyone who may be tempted to forget Him (Psalm 50:4). Attached to the warning however, is a way out, a blessing to consider:

Psalm 50:22–23 (NKJV) “Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver: 23 Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”

Manny…you better behave…you’ll be gracious blessed if you do!

Proverbs 22:22-23

Proverbs 22:22, (NKJV) “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them.”

I’m always amazed at the audacity of the rich and heartless businessmen and crooks who oppress or take advantage of the poor in order to line their wallets even further.

When is enough, enough? Will it ever move from business to benevolence?

This God-given proverb commands us NOT to rob or oppress the poor, for the Lord sees it all. He will plunder the SOUL of those who plunder the poor. It’s a heavy warning.

One day…justice will be served.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

September 5, 2021

Ecclesiastes 10:1–12:14

All it takes is something “small” to ruin it all, a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor. Solomon goes on to describe the fool who lacks wisdom, multiplies his words, and doesn’t like to work. The wise, on the other hand work wise and hard, taking the time to sharpen his ax, to speak gracious words (Ecclesiastes 10:12). 

The wise man is the generous man, his generosity will be repaid (Ecclesiastes 11:1).

Solomon had a lot of wisdom, but even he didn’t know everything, none of us do, none of us have anywhere near all of the answers:

Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NKJV) “As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything.”

We must simply do our best, God will bless…as He sees fit.

Solomon is old when writing the book of Ecclesiastes and he has a word for the younger generation – enjoy life and the things you can physically do while you can, but keep in mind that God sees EVERYTHING and one day we will give an account.

Solomon does his best to warn us what happens…when we age.

Eventually, when we get older, our bodies start breaking down, that’s the metaphorical language – the word pictures we see in this section. Notice how the NLT translates:

Ecclesiastes 12:1–2 (NLT) “Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” 2 Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.”

(When our eyes go bad; and our minds get cloudy)

Ecclesiastes 12:3–4 (NLT) “Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly. 4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.”

Physicians tell athletes that the legs are the first to go, and shoulders that used to be so strong, grow weak; we start losing our teeth; opportunities are lost, we can’t work like we used to; and we won’t be able to hear the same.

When you’re young you can see the twinkling star 25 billion light years away. Our hearing at its peak is able to detect 15,000 different tones. Solomon says, there was a time when our hearing was so good, that we were awakened by the birds singing, but the day may come when we can’t even hear the music.

There’s more to growing old:

Ecclesiastes 12:5 (NKJV) “Also they are afraid of height, and of terrors in the way; when the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper is a burden, and desire fails. For man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets.”

The older we get, the more we know the damage a single fall can do; they didn’t have knee and hip replacements back then. The blossom of the almond tree refers to our hair turning white.

Certain desires begin to fade. Aging inevitably means we’re closer to death.

Ecclesiastes 12:6 (NKJV) “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. 7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

Remember Him…before your life is over (symbolized in light and water).

The silver cord held a golden bowl in which the light burned. Remember God before that cord is loosed and the bowl is broken. Remember Him before the pitcher, or vessel of water is shattered.

Notice again what Solomon says happens when we die (Ecclesiastes 12:7 – the body turns to dust, the inner man goes to God). All roads do lead to God, but what happens after that, is dependent upon whether or not we’ve humbled ourselves and received the provision of righteousness found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Solomon returns to his expression of emptiness:

Ecclesiastes 12:8 (NKJV) “Vanity of vanities,” says the preacher, “All is vanity.”

IF it’s only under the sun it’s vanity, but, if it’s under the Son – nothing is in vain. Paul the Apostle reminded the Corinthians about this – it’s not in vain!

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV) “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV) “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

The “Preacher” (Solomon) did his best to choose the right words to convey his message (Ecclesiastes 12:11) and his summary says it all doesn’t it?

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 (NKJV) “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, whether good or evil.


2 Corinthians 8:1-15

The next couple of chapters in 2 Corinthians have to do with the donations that were being collected for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. They had been hit with a famine (Acts 11:28) and many Bible teachers safely assume that not only were the Christians in Jerusalem being persecuted physically and spiritually, but also financially. Paul encourages the Corinthians to follow through with their desire to help them out (2 Corinthians 12:8:10).

I love the way this offering is described repeatedly by the word “grace” (2 Corinthians 8:1, 6, 7, 9). It’s by the grace of God that I would ever be able to truly give to those who have genuine needs. Giving and generosity in any Spiritual fashion is a work of the Holy Spirit, it’s a privilege, a blessing, and even a joy.

Paul uses the Macedonian churches as an amazing example of giving – I like the way the NLT translates v. 2, “They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” Imagine that, here they are, very troubled and poor, and yet they gave generously and sacrificially. They were able to do that because God had lavished them with His grace, and because they first gave themselves to God and His work (2 Corinthians 8:5). Paul encouraged the Corinthians, through Titus, to finish this work they had started.

After using the Macedonian church as an example, Paul then uses Christ as our pattern, how Jesus was rich, but willing to become poor, that we might become rich – spiritually speaking. How beautiful and wonderful our Lord is! O, that we might be like Him, with open hearts and open eyes to see the needs around us, and then be willing to graciously help somehow someway in the Name of Jesus. God help us to give charity benevolently so that people might taste and see God’s great love…and then benefit spiritually.

It’s interesting to see in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 how Paul sees the church as a family, open to help each other whenever there was that genuine need. This can happen in different ways. I’ve seen throughout the years Christians help other Christians directly, and we’ve also seen people give through the church. Maybe there’s a sister, or a family who is hurting financially and the church is able to help out with rent, or pay a utility bill, provide a food card, or maybe a gas card. We really are family.

Psalm 49:1-20

This Psalm definitely has the overtones of a Proverb – even using that very word in Psalm 49:4.

A common theme woven throughout the Psalm is the poverty of wealth, when wealth becomes one’s trust. All the money in the world cannot buy a single fiber of God’s forgiveness, much less the redemption of our souls!

Psalm 49:8 (NKJV) “For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever.”

Psalm 49:8 (NLT) “Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough.”

Peter reveals to us the cost in:

1 Peter 1:18–19 (NKJV) “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Therefore, don’t envy the rich, don’t overwork to be rich; don’t pour your life into your house or the properties you may amass – that’s what the world does:

Psalm 49:11 (NKJV) “Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.”

Don’t fear or envy the rich, for in the end, they end up with nothing, even if all others commend them – God doesn’t.

Psalm 49:17–18 (NKJV) “For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself).”

Jim Elliot, “No man is a fool who give us that which he cannot keep, in order to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Proverbs 22:20-21

Proverbs 22:20-21 (NKJV) “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, 21 That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?”

I thank God for the book of Proverbs. Growing up I had virtually no guidance in life. I don’t remember many maxims, precepts, principles, or even morals being poured into me. 

The book of Proverbs is the wise father I never had. Don’t get me wrong, my mom and dad loved me, and I had other adults in my life that did their best, but to have a Christian counselor on hand 24/7 like the book of Proverbs takes it to a completely different level.

Solomon indeed has written excellent things of counsel and knowledge. I’ve bee reading the Proverbs since 1989, now know the certainty of these words of truth, and now I’ve been graced to answer some of the tough questions in life…but it’s not our wisdom…it’s God’s.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.