Category Archives: 1-Year Bible

January 15

Genesis 31:17-32:12

After 20 years of life with Laban, Jacob doesn’t trust him in the slightest, so he takes his family and runs away. This is a good example of doing the right thing the wrong way (yes that is possible). Eventually Laban finds out and catches up to him. Did Jacob actually think he could run away from his problems? 

But God went before Jacob and protected him by warning Laban in a dream as he shares in:

Genesis 31:29 (NKJV) “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’”

Laban had the ability and was no doubt persuaded he had the right, to judge Jacob, but God commanded him to stand down…and once again we see God’s protection over the nation.

Both men were upset with each other, and both men had valid points. They eventually declared a truce, which is better than a war, but not as good as simply dwelling together in unity (Psalm 133; Ephesians 4:3).

The whole concept of stealing someone’s god has always puzzled me. We’re not sure why Rachel stole her father’s idol; apparently it was special to her, which is a huge red flag indicating something carnal and common (even in the lives of God’s chosen people), secret idols in their hearts. John the beloved warned us of this in:

1 John 5:21 (NKJV) “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

God repeatedly revealed to Jacob that He was with him, even allowing him to see the angelic realm (Genesis 32:1-2) but Jacob’s fear refused to fade. Jacob’s scheming was the story of his life (his name means heel-catcher, conniver, and even deceiver). It’s hard to say you trust God when all along you’re trying to trick man. It’s not really possible to be a believer in God and a manipulator of people simultaneously. Jacob needed to change.

Warren Weirsbe said this about Jacob, “He saw the army of angels protecting him, but even that didn’t encourage his faith. One minute Jacob prayed for God’s help, and the next minute he devised some new way to appease his angry brother. He reminded God of His great promises and then acted as though God had never spoken. This is the conduct of a believer who needed to be broken before God. He prayed to be delivered from Esau, but his greatest need was to be delivered from himself.”

Don’t we all need to be delivered from ourselves? The three enemies we war against, are this fallen world, these fallen angels (the devil and his demons), and my fallen nature – and of three – the greatest enemy is me.

Matthew 10:24-11:6

Lots of bullet points in this section.

If we’re faithful disciples of Christ, we will actually be like Him. The world hated Him, they will therefore hate us as well, but don’t let that strike any fear within you or stop you from preaching (Matthew 10:27).

The hostile world hates the message of salvation so it inevitably leads to persecution, but don’t be afraid! Fear only God!

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 10:29-31 are some of the most comforting passages in all the Bible. God is so sovereign that not a single sparrow falls to the ground apart from our Father’s will. If such is the case for every single sparrow, how much more so for us, God’s sons and daughters? God even knows the very number of our hairs. Wow! Every single one, even though there is somewhere around 100,000 of them (on average).  I wonder if the Lord shared this with us because worrying causes hair loss? Don’t worry, He’s watching over you as if you were the only one to watch.

Don’t let anything stop you from being bold and obedient in your faith. Preach the Gospel. Confess Christ openly. Don’t hold back because you think that type of compromise will promote peace – that’s not the kind of pseudo peace we should be interested in. Please, don’t be obnoxious in your witness, but do speak the truth, just do it in love (Ephesians 4:15), even if it creates friction in the family (Matthew 10:35).  

A healthy Christianity means there are no rival thrones in our hearts, we must love God more than anyone else; we must love God more than ourselves (which is why we take up our cross), and we must be willing to lose our lives for Christ’s sake (Matthew 10:37-39).

Jesus closes His teaching in this section with an encouragement to serve, and a reminder that even what may be perceived as the smallest and most insignificant form of service (giving a child a cup of water) is registered in heaven and will one day be rewarded (Matthew 10:42).

John the Baptist had been imprisoned, and it had been quite some time since the day he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus. Time and trials have a way of ebbing away at our faith through the vehicle of experience. It can happen to even the best of men. John was wondering why it was taking so long for the Messiah to do His thing. Jesus’ response was simply to say that the signs of the Christ were clearly manifested and, “John you’ll be blessed if you’re not offended at My timeline.”

Psalm 13:1-6

David asks the LORD four times, “How long?”

For David it was around 10 years.

For Joseph it was 13 years.

For Abraham it was 25 years.

For Moses it was 40 years.

Wait on the Lord, even in the most trying times.

My heart goes out to David as he writes in:

Psalm 13:2b (NKJV) “…having sorrow in my heart daily.”

Some of you are there. We all go through those seasons of life. Please – don’t stop believing, don’t stop doing the right thing, for the day will come when God will reward your long obedience – it happened to David and it will happen to us – the “how long” for all the wrong, will become a deep and meaningful song one day.

Psalm 13:6 (NKJV) I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Proverbs 3:16-18

Proverbs 3:16–18 (NKJV) “Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.”

The general principal (v. 16) is that you’ll live a longer life, an honorable life, and yes, as we touched on previously in the Proverbs, if you’re a good steward of the finances, God may entrust more to you. You’ll definitely have everything you need, and you might even be blessed to bless others in that way (“riches” v. 16).

Ultimately, we see that being rich and having possessions is not a sin, it only becomes sin when those possessions possess us – when we make idols of them. It’s not money that’s evil, it’s the love of money…that can lead us astray.

1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Find wisdom, gain understanding, take hold of her, it’s there that you’ll find pleasure and peace (big things huh?) (v. 17).

Proverbs 3:18 describes wisdom as A Tree of Life! (see Genesis 2, 3; Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14). Not a leaf or a limb, not fruit or a root, but a TREE OF LIFE! Wisdom will be a perpetual source to bless you with LIFE – and that more abundantly. 

O the benefits of wisdom – not always binding precepts but beautiful principles, often leading to a long life, riches and honor, good pleasures and peace; not just the fruit of the day but a tree of life granting us happiness!

Proverbs 3:18 (NKJV) “She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.”

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.

January 14

Genesis 30:1-31:16

Up to this point Jacob has had four children through Leah, and Rachel is fuming. Jacob was right, not in his anger, but in his theology, his anthropology – God alone is the giver of life.

As a quick side-note, polygamy was practiced back in these days and culture, but from the beginning, it was never God’s intention. 

Again, it’s difficult for us to fathom, but Rachel gives her maidservant to Jacob in order that she might have children on her behalf, and sure enough, Bilhah gives birth to Dan and Naphtali. I’m fascinated by the meaning of each of the names of the sons of Jacob, and what a story this is, but underneath it all, I can’t help but see God’s pure grace covering such a dysfunctional family.

Finally, Rachel gives birth to Joseph. The Bible says, “God remembered Rachel, and listened to her.” (Genesis 30:22). Not that God ever forgets us, it’s simply that He answers our prayers according to His perfect will and timing. It may “seem” like He forgets us during our difficult days, but He never, ever does (Isaiah 49:15). May that encourage you today.

The Bible says in: 

Romans 8:31 (NKJV) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Laban, Lucifer, and maybe even the circumstances of life were against Jacob, but since God was for Him, God was working out His plan for Jacob and his family; it was evident that the LORD was blessing through Jacob (Genesis 30:27), so Laban asked Jacob to stay with him…and he did, all together it totaled twenty years.

Some say there was a science to the multiplication of Jacob’s flock, but most say there’s no explainable science behind it – it’s just the Lord who chose to bless Jacob and multiply his livestock.

Fallen human nature tends to envy when others get blessed and such was the case with Laban and his sons. Circumstances were beginning to dictate that it was time for Jacob to go back to the land of promise, and then the LORD clearly confirmed it:

Genesis 31:3 (NKJV) “Then the LORD said to Jacob, ‘Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.’”

It helps even more in discerning the will of God, when our wife is in complete agreement, and I love their response in:

Genesis 31:16b (NKJV) “…now then, whatever God has said to you, do it.”

A word to us all!

Matthew 10:1-23

In Matthew 10 Jesus calls His Twelve Apostles by name, gives them power, and sends them out; but before they go, He teaches them (and us) many things about this type of ministry.

We don’t simply go anywhere, or to anyone, we only go where Jesus sends us. The Apostles were sent first to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This was God’s order (Romans 1:16) for many reasons. Jesus wanted to identify with Judaism because He was the coming Messiah they should have been looking for – the whole world needed to know that. This was not some new religion, this was rooted in the monotheistic beliefs of Abraham and Moses. The Jews held to the Scriptures and under the old covenant, they should have been in right relationship with God, ready for the Gospel, so Jesus sent the guys to them first.

Jesus taught His Apostles to trust God for provision and to be aware of the fact that in all reality, they were sheep among wolves, so they would always need the Shepherd, His wisdom, and a heart to be as harmless as a dove, which speaks of being holy, blameless, and innocent.

In verses 11-15 we get a glimpse of the hospitality they would need as they traveled from village to village. They weren’t to jump from one place to another (searching for better accommodations). Imagine having an Apostle stay at your house! Those who receive their message receive peace, but those who don’t, receive a clear and heavy warning:

Matthew 10:15 (NKJV) “Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

Jesus warned of coming persecutions from authorities and even division among families. Jesus told them in advance because He didn’t want them (or us) to lose heart when we experience these things. May we never split or quit – that’s the only way we lose, “…he who endures to the end will be saved.” (22b)

In v. 23 we have another example of how God’s Word can speak of different ages in a single sentence. Warren Wiersbe comments, “Some of these instructions applied mainly to the Apostles (vv. 5–15) and some to those serving just before the Lord’s return (vv. 16–23). However, spiritual principles are here for all God’s servants.”

Psalm 12:1-8

It was true then and it’s true now, the godly man and faithful person are rare commodities in this fallen world (Psalm 12:1). It makes me want to be faithful that much more.

This Psalm highlights the way people use their tongues as weapons against us. Ranging from trash talk behind our backs, to manipulative flattery in our face. They say their tongues are their own, that they can say whatever they want (Psalm 12:4) and they do, shooting from the hip of hardened hearts…but one day they will give an account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36).

Contrast man’s wicked word to God’s pure and perfect Word:

Psalm 12:6 (NKJV) “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

God promises to keep, preserve, and protect His people, you can trust His Word on that! (Isaiah 54:17)

Proverbs 3:13-15

Proverbs 3:13–15 (NKJV) “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; 14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.”

The declaration – then the explanation.

If we find wisdom, we’ll find happiness; if we gain understanding, we’ll gain happiness.

That’s pretty important isn’t it? If you were to ask people that question, “What do you want most out of life?” I’m pretty sure most people would have happiness near the top of the list.

The founding fathers of this great nation even acknowledged this as a God-given right.

As we read in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

So that’s a given – we all want that – and I think that’s okay.

When I think of happiness, I think of smiling, I think of laughing, but primarily, I think of loving. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everything goes my way, but there’s a smile in the soul – even though life gets low, ‘cuz I know, God has a plan – even in the pain.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy, happiness has a way of eluding us. A recent poll revealed that only 33% of Americans are happy with their lives.

Of course we know the reason people don’t find happiness is because they’re looking for it in the wrong places.

Verses 14 and 15 are the most common perceptions of where happiness can be found, in profits of silver and gold and money and the things that money can buy; rubies were considered the most valuable commodity in the Jewish community. But wisdom, which brings happiness is more precious than profits – it’s not even comparable. What do you want? I want a faster bigger computer – I want a cooler car – I want clothes that are tailored. Have you seen some of those houses in Bel-Air. Don’t even look on YouTube – it’s crazy.

The formula for happiness is simple, learn God’s Word, and live it out, day by day, and moment by moment. This is wisdom, the application of God’s Biblical knowledge. Wisdom is better than winning the lottery, than having all the gold, silver, or rubies (of highest value in Jewish eyes) in the world – listen to what he says:

Proverbs 3:15 (NKJV) “…and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.”

Wow! That statement stops me in my tracks, it rocks me in a world of endless materialism…help us Lord.

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.

January 13

Genesis 28:1-29:35

Isaac and Rebekah send their son Jacob to Haran – that he would not marry any of the daughters of Canaan. The Bible clearly forbids believers to marry non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14) for their non-believing spouse has the powerful potential to turn their heart away from the Lord (that’s what happened to Solomon, 1 Kings 11:4).

Isaac realizes the blessing truly has fallen to Jacob so he blesses him volitionally (Genesis 28:3-4). 

In a futile attempt to please his parents, Esau takes as wife a daughter of Ishmael his half brother, but when someone functions in the flesh, they make all the wrong moves.

The LORD appeared to Jacob in a dream revealing the “connection” and intervention between  heaven and earth. The LORD confirmed to Jacob the Abrahamic  covenant of land and descendants, and how through him, “…all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This of course is a prophecy of Jesus Christ.

In response, Jacob built an altar, he didn’t want to forget this dream. He renamed the city Bethel, which means “House of God,” and in Jacob-like-fashion He made a deal with God, promising to give the LORD a tithe of his possessions if God would be with him, keep him, and provide for him so that he would one day return to his father’s house.

Jacob arrives in the land, 500 miles away from home, asking for his uncle Laban. The men know Laban and point out the fact that his daughter, Rachel, was approaching as they spoke. For Jacob it was “love at first sight.” Initially I thought it was wrong that he kissed her on their first date (Genesis 29:11) but then I noticed that his uncle kissed Jacob when he saw him (Genesis 29:13), so I gave Jacob the benefit of the doubt (but I still wonder).

The formation of this family (keep in mind Jacob eventually becomes Israel) is flooded with grace.

Every husband should  be inspired by Genesis 29:20 but I wonder if Jacob’s love at this point was eros (erotic) and not agape (divinely unconditional, true love).

Genesis 29:20 (NKJV) “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.”

Jacob got a strong dose of his own medicine, when his uncle Laban deceived him by getting him drunk and slipping in the older sister, Leah, as wife (Genesis 29:25). Imagine that! But no worries Laban has a plan, just serve another seven years and I’ll give you my younger daughter also. More than likely Jacob didn’t have to wait until the seven years were over to receive Rachel, but he DID work the full term for his second wife.

Why did Jacob love Rachel so much? Genesis 29:17 informs us that Rachel was beautiful and had a nice figure. I doubt that those are ever ingredients or factors of true love. Love is something rooted in the lover, not in the object of love, and how awful it is when a husband does not love his wife – such was the case for Jacob towards Leah – the Bible says in:

Genesis 29:31 (NKJV) “…the LORD saw that Leah was unloved…”

What a heavy indictment of a husband!

It’s heartbreaking to see the way Leah hoped that with the birth of each child her husband would love her. Thankfully, by her fourth child she lifted her eyes to heaven rather than looking to her husband (Judah’s name means “praise”) and she was able to praise the LORD.

Matthew 9:18-38

Another day in the Ministry of the Messiah. He healed a woman with a twelve year flow of blood, He raised a 12-year-old from the dead, he healed two blind men, he cast out a demon, and I’m sure there was much, much more. It’s no wonder we read in:

Matthew 9:33b (NKJV) “And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’”

They should have known this was the Messiah!

In reading this section we clearly see the power of Christ, but we also see the factor of faith. The woman, the father, the blind men all had at least a mustard seed of faith (if not more) and Jesus honored that. Notice His teachings on faith:

Matthew 9:22 (NKJV) “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Matthew 9:28b (NKJV) “And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’”

Matthew 9:29 (NKJV) “Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’”

In Matthew 9:35 we have the three-fold ministry of Jesus articulated in order, teaching, preaching, and healing.

Jesus looked out at the people and was moved with compassion. They were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd (how does a sheep survive without a shepherd?). In response, He asked his disciples to pray for more laborers – something still needed today – people who truly make themselves available, and are willing to work for God sacrificially.

Psalm 11:1-7

Don’t fly away like a bird – pray and trust the Lord. He’s testing us and working in our lives…but oh the fate of the non-believer! (Psalm 11:6)

As the righteous go through tough times, God is testing us. He’s purifying us. Even using the the violently unrepentant wicked for His purposes. But one day the non-believer will stand before God and be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

Psalm 11:6 (NKJV) “Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.”

Proverbs 3:11-12

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NKJV) “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.

I need to remember as God’s child that the challenges and chastening for the church is an act of love. I need to ask myself, in the chastening what needs to change – in me?

Sometimes we think backwards – if God loved us, we wouldn’t be experiencing this excruciating pain. Christian friend, He loves you, He proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt when He died for you on Calvary.

There’s purpose for the pain.

(do not despise – reject, refuse; think little of)

(do not detest – abhor, grieve, be sickened by; wearied by; hate this)

Chastening = Instruction. Rebuke = Correction.

Hebrews 12:5, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.’”

I’m not a prophet and I don’t know all there is to know, but I have a hunch that at least a part of what our planet is experiencing in these days of Covid is the chastening of God.

So the big question is, “Are there any good and Godly changes on our part?”

Revelation 9:20-21, “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

Let’s return to God, let’s repent of our sins…from the heart.

“The heart is the first thing that wanders away from God, and it is also the first thing that returns to God.” – Jerry Bridges

G. Campbell Morgan, “We cry too often to be delivered from the correction, instead of the sin that lies behind it. We are anxious to escape from the things that cause us pain rather than from the things that cause God pain.”

Warren Wiersbe, “No matter how much the experience hurts us, it will never harm us, because God always disciplines in love (Deuteronomy 8:2-5).”

Even though it hurts, I’m glad that God doesn’t leave me to myself, He disciplines me, and deals with me validating my legitimacy as a son, and even proving His love. (see also Hebrews 12:5-11)

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.

January 12

Genesis 26:17-27:46

At this point in his life, Isaac is doing “well.” In this section we read about four wells Isaac dug. The first two, are wells that are disputed, but the third and fourth seemed to work out peacefully.  

As you probably know, water is a precious commodity and Bible teachers tell us that claiming a well was the equivalent of claiming ownership of the land. Isaac was being bullied, but Isaac was passive by nature (Genesis 25:27; Romans 12:18). Eventually they were able to work out a covenant and the reasoning should be an inspiration for us as believers:

Genesis 26:28 (NKJV) “But they said, ‘We have certainly seen that the LORD is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you.’’”

Is it evident to others (even non-believers) that the LORD is with me?

Not only was Isaac digging wells, he also began to build altars. The LORD appeared to him and reaffirmed His promise to Israel (Genesis 26:4-5).

The whole account of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing is a bit bizarre (from my perspective) but it’s only because I lack the grace that our amazing God gives. God gave grace to Jacob.

Isn’t it sad what we read back in:

Genesis 25:28 (NKJV) “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”

Parents should never have favorites…but God gave grace.

It was wrong for Jacob to steal his brother’s blessing – and the way he and his mother did it, lie after lie, after lie, how could it merit God’s blessing? God gave grace.

God had revealed to Rebekah that the older would serve the younger back in Genesis 25:23, but she should have allowed God to work it out; we are not to deceptively help God out…but He gave grace upon grace.

As we continue our journey in the Scriptures we will see THROUGHOUT the Bible the many, many failures of God’s chosen people (the Bible doesn’t hide them) it records it all, etched in history – how could God use and choose them? There’s only one explanation, God’s amazing grace.

The same is true for my life and yours, take heart…and be strong in His grace. Use, but don’t abuse it.

At least Jacob believed in the blessing of God! Do I? Do you believe in the blessing of your birthright as a child of God?

Esau may have been going through the motions of believing in the blessing, but did he really have God’s promise in his heart? Why did he marry pagan women who were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34) sapping Rebekah even of her very life? (Genesis 27:46). If a believer marries a non-believer they also marry many heartaches, and will lose many of the blessings of life.

Be careful!

One last thing before we leave this section; some believe Esau was doomed from the get-go because the Bible tells us that God loved Jacob and hated Esau (Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:13). The simple explanation for this is that Jacob was a believer in the LORD; he was saved and favored by God who saw his faith…even before time began (1 Peter 1:2). There is a difference when comparing my children, to all others, not that I “hate” others in the English sense of the word, but the Hebrew idiom means my love is greater for my children, for my bride, for my family when compared to all others.

Matthew 9:1-17

This account of friends bringing their friend to Jesus is one of my favorites in the Bible. When they arrived at the house where Jesus was, there was no room to get in, but they didn’t give up. They carried their friend up on the roof, bored a hole, and let him down in the presence of Jesus.

Talk about resilient faith!

They wanted their friend to be healed physically, but Jesus first healed him spiritually, eternally, for that is far more important. The religious leaders doubted in their hearts, but Jesus, who knows our hearts and all our thoughts, proved it to them and reveals to us all the power that He has to forgive sins – His gracious deity.

How awesome that Jesus would call a Tax-Collector to follow Him! Tax Collectors were hated by the Jews, and were considered to be the worst of all sinners, but this opened doors for Jesus to eat with sinners in His loving attempt to reach them. Legalistic people don’t do such things, neither do they understand God’s heart to reach the lost and heal the hurting. It makes me check my life. When was the last time I reached out or hung out with someone who wasn’t saved? God help us to care, to love, and to go fishing.

Psalm 10:16-18

I know the LORD has never relinquished His throne, even in this crazy world of chaos we live in…but my heart aches and longs for the day our King literally, physically, actually, eternally reigns from Jerusalem.

Don’t you look forward to that day?

The Lord is King and the King will come. The ungodly nations will all fall in that day. Keep praying. God hears our cry, the cry of the humble – and He will vindicate – He will help the helpless.

Psalm 10:16 (NKJV) “The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His land.”

Proverbs 3:9-10

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV) “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

I agree with David Guzik who wrote, “When we truly trust God, we can honor Him with generosity that realizes He is the great provider and God has inexhaustible resources.”

When Solomon speaks of our possessions, he’s speaking of the things entrusted to us – the money and material things, but we don’t own them, we’re only stewards of that “stuff,” God is the true owner! The truth is, it ALL belongs to Him, and so we give to God the firstfruits of all our increase.

That word “first” is very important.

Exodus 13:1-2, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.’”

Leviticus 23:9-10, “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.”

That’s why my conviction is, when I get any type of increase, any type of income, the firstfruits, the first check should go to the Lord. I like to tell people to give God the fat of the firstborn, the best of the best, to give from the top, at least a tenth. (tithe)

Jesus said:

Luke 11:42, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

I’m saddened that some saints don’t give to God at all, and many people who do give, only give God the leftovers.

They budget in the houses and cars, and clothes, and cable, and coffee, and phones and fancy food and then they check the balance, is there anything left to give to God? If so, they give to God the leftovers.

Let me just say that’s not honoring the Lord with our possessions and that’s definitely not offering the firstfruits.

There may be some out there who think that Manny’s trying to get money for the church. No, not at all. I’m blown away by how blessed we are as a church. I just want you to be blessed. When you give to God what belongs to God, you show that you’re a good steward, and then you’ll find that you can be entrusted with more. That’s the general principle.

Some people say the reason they give is because they have so much, when in all reality the reason they have so much…is because they give. (see Malachi 3:8-10)

But it has to be in your heart.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

(see also Luke 6:38; Philippians 4:19)

Give to God off the top, the fat of the firstborn, the best of what you have. If at all possible, budget your life so you can give to God 10% (it’s a great place to start), add to that the offerings, and you watch how God will bless your life (Malachi 3:8-10).

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.

January 11

Genesis 24:52-26:16

We continue the story of the servant securing a bride for Isaac, which is a picture of the Holy Spirit gathering a bride for Christ.

Rebekah’s brother and mother attempted to hinder her from going to Isaac (Genesis 24:55) but the servant pushed. Ultimately they all agreed to ask her personally (Genesis 24:57). Rebekah’s response is courageous and beautiful – she said yes to the proposal – she saw God’s hand in it all. We read her response in:

Genesis 24:58 (NKJV) “Then they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ And she said, ‘I will go.’”

This is how it is for every single Christian. It is a personal decision. Will you follow the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit to enter in to this permanent relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ? It’s up to you. Can you see the treasures? Do you hear His Word? Will you say yes to Jesus?

In Genesis 24:64 Rebekah sees Issac for the first time. What a moment this is. Christian, consider the moment when we finally see Jesus for the first time! 1 Peter 1:8 speaks of the fact that although we have never seen Jesus, we love Him…but one day we’ll see Him.

We read in Genesis 24:67 that Isaac “loved her.” The ultimate calling for every husband (Ephesians 5:25).

In Genesis 25 we see further reason for Abraham’s name (father of a multitude). Abraham married Keturah and God visited him again and blessed him with more children; but God makes it clear that Isaac was the child of promise.

It took 20 years, but in much waiting, praying, and even pleading (Genesis 25:21) Isaac and Rebekah eventually conceived. There were twins in her womb.

Warren Wiersbe, “Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. For twenty years, they waited for a family that did not come. God blessed Isaac in everything but the thing he wanted most. He and Rebekah knew that God had promised descendants (Genesis 15:5), so Isaac laid hold of the promise and prayed. True prayer lays hold of God’s Word (John 15:7) and seeks to accomplish God’s purposes.”

Early on in the womb it was made manifest to mom that these boys would both be patriarchs of nations, and that the older would serve the younger. I don’t believe it was fate, it was simply God’s foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2). God knew that one day Esau would despise his birthright and sell it for some soup.

Apparently it was okay for Isaac to spend time in the land of the Philistines, during the famine, but it was not okay for him to lie about his wife for his own protection. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Isaac’s father had done the same thing – repeatedly. Our children don’t usually do as we say, they do as we do.

God graciously kept and continued to reveal His promise to Isaac along with the reasoning behind it:

Genesis 26:4–5 (NKJV) “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

God was raising up the lineage of Abraham through Isaac – (the nation of Israel) because of the fact that through Israel “…all the nations of the earth,” would be blessed. Through Israel we would receive the Savior and the Scriptures. He chose Israel to reach others, it manifests His love for the whole wide world.

Matthew 8:18-34

Following Jesus doesn’t go hand-in-hand with a comfortable life. Jesus was on the go. As far as we know, He didn’t own a home or a mode of transportation; the only thing He owned were the clothes on His back. He would sometimes stay with friends, bundle up on a bench, and sleep with no pillow for His head.  

Am I willing to follow Christ “uncomfortably?” As a missionary? Is He my priority? Or have I put others before Him? (Matthew 8:21-22)

Jesus set sail in order to cast out demons from two men, so it’s understandable that He would have strong opposition, hence the storm. Jesus was exhausted, so He slept through it. When His disciples woke Him up to ask for help, there was nothing wrong with their request – what Jesus disapproved of was the panic in their plea demonstrating a complete lack of faith.

Jesus stilled the storm and the disciples wondered, “Who can this be that even the winds and sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:27) Good question for us all. Have you ever thought that one through? He’s not just a typical teacher, a passing prophet, or a random rabbi. The only logical answer to the one who did what Jesus did (even raising from the dead) is that this was none other than God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Getting back to the nap. Do you ever feel as if God’s sleeping through your storm? God is no longer here in the flesh so He never sleeps or slumbers, but we do sometimes wonder about things during the “storms” of life. When you’re there I do encourage you to trust Him, go to Him in faith, and find peace in the fact that Jesus is in the boat – He will keep His promise to take you to the “other side.”

Jesus goes on to cast out demons from two men. Why did the people beg Christ to leave? Because their pigs had perished. They valued the money the pigs produced over the men created in the image of God. Sadly, many people have the same heart – when will we understand that God and people are what this is all about!

Psalm 10:1-15

The Psalmist was just being honest. Sometimes it seems as if God is far away and uninvolved.

Psalm 10:1 (NKJV) “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide in times of trouble?”

We need to know that there may be times when God seems silent, but He’s never absent. He with us always, He sees everything – and everyone will stand before the Judge one day.

Psalm 10 is a Psalm that bemoans the fact that wicked, wicked men seemingly get away with their crimes. They even murder the innocent (Psalm 10:8). They think there is no God, He’s the furthest thing from their minds (Psalm 10:41113). But God does see and one day they will be required to give an account and pay for all the trouble and grief they’ve caused (Psalm 10:14).

Keep praying. And keep knowing that one day justice will be served! 

Proverbs 3:7-8

Proverbs 3:7-8 (NKJV) Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.

I know it sounds silly, but sometimes people think they’re smarter than God. They have no reverence, no fear of the Lord, no heart for holiness.

If only they would fear the Lord and depart from evil. V. 8 reveals another “general” principle in the Proverbs and that is they’d be healthier and stronger physically – (4:20-22)

At the same time “strength to the bones” has a lot do with what’s going on internally.

Charles Bridges, “Exercising self-denial and godly discipline will bring health to your body and revive your soul.”

We’re commanded to turn away from self-destructive behavior – pleasing yourself, hurting yourself, cutting yourself, focusing on self.

3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

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.

January 10

Genesis 23:1-24:51

The account of Sarah’s death and burial in Genesis 23 should capture our attention. 

Warren Wiersbe said, “Sarah is the only woman named in the Bible whose age is given and burial described. It was the death of a princess, a woman of faith (see Hebrews 11:11–13).”

In 1 Peter 3:1-6 Sarah is lifted up to the ladies as an exemplary  wife. 

Understandably Abraham was hurting deeply at the passing of his lifelong companion, we read in:

Genesis 23:2b (NKJV) “…and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.” 

I’m sure most of you have noticed by now that this present planet is not actually the land of the living, it’s more like the land of the dying. And although we who are believers will see our loved ones in Christ again, we still mourn deeply. Christians still cry, and even Jesus wept (John 11:35), but we don’t sorrow as those without hope.

Abraham purchased a place to bury his beloved wife, and even though the entire land had been promised to him – this grave would be the only land he would own on this side of time. Again, some insightful words from Warren Wiersbe, “He paid a high price for what became one of the most famous tombs in Bible history, and eventually six people were buried there (Genesis 49:31–32). Abraham owned only one thing on earth: a grave. Genesis ends with a full tomb, but the gospel story ends with an empty tomb! And because Jesus Christ lives, we who trust in Him never need fear death.”

In Genesis 24 we have a beautiful story of Abraham doing all that he can to make sure that his son marries a good and Godly woman. The providence of God in putting two people together as husband and wife is never mundane, but this story is especially special. The servant sets a fleece before the Lord, and God answered him before even before he finished speaking/praying (Genesis 24:15). Rebekah simply did a good deed for a stranger, but you never know when God is measuring you for something great – this good deed on her part would lead to Rebekah’s place in the family tree of the Messiah.

This story is also a beautiful picture of God the Father gathering a bride for His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Did you notice that the servant’s name is not mentioned? The reason for that is because the servant who gathers a bride for the son, is a picture of the Holy Spirit, who is gathering a bride (the church) for Christ. The Holy Spirit never draws attention to Himself. We’ll see next time how Rebekah is shown the treasures of a life far away, she hears the words of the servant, and is then asked to make a personal decision on whether or not she will commit to this relationship. It pictures the proposal we’ve been given from Jesus, God’s Son, as presented to us by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 8:1-17

In this section, Jesus heals a leper with a touch, a Centurion’s servant from a distance, and Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever. With each healing we are reminded that there is no one like Jesus – who demonstrates His deity and majesty, and even does so personally.

In those days NO ONE would dare to touch a leper.

Pastor Chuck Smith, “No one touched lepers. If a leper came within 150 feet of anyone, he was required to cry out, ‘Unclean!’ (so that other stayed away) But Jesus reached out to touch this man with compassion, love, and concern. Jesus was always interested in those who needed Him most.”

When you have a moment, check out this song by Terry Clark (an oldie but goodie – one of my all-time favorite songs).

“The Leper,” by Terry Clark

Don’t you just love the way nothing is too big for the Lord? Even leprosy! At the same time, nothing is too small for the Lord (like a fever)? Over the years we’ve prayed for everything, from lost kids, to lost keys, temporary parking places, to permanent homes, we’ve prayed over those with cancer, and yes, fevers, and we’ve seen the Lord answer in the affirmative many of those prayers. I’ll never forget one time Shelly and I were praying for healing for our friend Gloria who had a fever, and God instantly took it away. He is able.

Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53:4 applying it to the healings of Jesus, teaching us that this was included in the redemption of Christ. Now, does that mean that every illness is guaranteed to be taken away on this side of time? No. It’s all according to God’s will (1 John 5:14). God’s people don’t always experience healing (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10) but it’s okay and even Biblical to ask (James 5:14). When our faith intersects with God’s will, we see wonders (Matthew 8:13).

Psalm 9:13-20

We find the word “nations,” multiple times in this chapter (Psalm 9:515171920). How comforting it was to David (and should be to us) that even if nations opposed him – it wouldn’t matter – if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

There were some who hated David, they wanted him dead, but God sustained him…just as God has sustained Israel. 

Please pray for the United States of America! What a heavy verse this is:

Psalm 9:17 (NKJV) “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

As we go through personal and even national battles, let’s learn from David to fight…by praying. “Have mercy on me, O LORD! Arise O LORD, Do not let man prevail…” (Psalm 9:1319).

Proverbs 3:1-6

I. We should be Bound to the Bible (Proverbs 3:1-4)

Proverbs 3:1–4 (NKJV) “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; 2 For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.”

The Lord speaks to us, as His children, whom He’s taught His truth, and He commands us not to forget the wisdom of His Word, the law of the Lord. I tend to be a forgetful person. Where did I put keys, where’d I place my phone, once again I don’t remember what I did with my glasses?” I tell my wife, “I never said that. I didn’t do that.” I forget many things.

But if there’s one thing I pray I’d never forget, it’s the law of the Lord, the wisdom of His Word. I think it could slip away, if I fall away, if I lose that heart to read it every day, there might come a day, when I used to know His Word so well, I used to swing that sword, but now I don’t swing it, I wing it, I don’t know it. That can happen.

But of course, we know that forgetting is not merely failing to remember intellectually, it really means to fail to do obediently; (James 1:25 – “forgetful hearer”) 

When Solomon says, “Don’t forget the law, He’s saying don’t forget to live the law.”

We can’t just carry the Bible in our hands, or contemplate it in our heads, we must keep it, obey it, hide it, write it on our hearts (v. 3)

The truth is we are to write this truth on that tablet.

Our hearts are important, aren’t they? 

Our physical hearts are amazing, how they beat 100,000 times every day; they pump 5 to 6 quarts of blood every minute, 2,000 gallons a day. Our hearts are so important, that when they stop beating, we die.

Well, just as the physical heart is vital, the Spiritual heart more so! 

It’s the real you, deep, deep down inside; the question is, “Are our hearts right, do we write His word there?”

Some of us need heart surgery; God is able to give us a clean heart, enlarge our heart, give us a heart after His own heart, if we let Him – and one of the strongest ways He does that is by taking the scalpel of the Scriptures to our hearts.

The “heart” is core when it comes to wisdom, mentioned 83 times in the book of Proverbs…so Solomon says don’t just bind the Bible around your necks, tattoo it on your hearts.

Manny – don’t forget my law! Why not? The general principle is that those who are spiritually wise live longer…lives (read v. 2)

Those who are not wise, often live lives that are cut short. Not an absolute precept, but a general principle.

Someone asks, “Why would anyone want to live longer?” The answer is, “To do more for the Lord and His people.” (Philippians 1:21-25) (better for you – fruit for God)

This is good reason, not to forget God’s law, to live longer, to serve longer, but not just quantity of life, but quality of life, when we’re men and women bound to the Bible, God will not only grant more days to our life, but more life to our days.

He’ll be glorified, we’ll be satisfied, there in v. 2 we see that peace will be added to us…that’s a whole sermon by itself. 

If we do not forget God’s law, and let not mercy and truth forsake us: 

4 And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.

General principal is we’ll live longer lives, good lives, with a good name and reputation with people – and more importantly – with God.

1 Samuel 2:26, “And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the LORD and men.”

Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

I. We should be Bound to the Bible (1-4)

II. We can be Guided by God (5-6)

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 are two of the most beautiful passages in all the Bible, teaching us the promise of God’s personal guidance…and my, how we need that don’t we?

Life is not only amazing – it’ also a maze at times. I know the guys would never admit it, but sometimes you feel lost at sea. What companion, what career, you’re at a crossroad and you don’t know which way to go.

Well, it begins with trust in the Lord…this is how God guides us.

Trust means belief in the ability, the reliability; trust in a person means you believe they’re true enough, they love enough, they’re strong enough, meaning that they’re able to follow through. Truly we can trust the Lord.

But not just trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart.

I don’t know if you have trust issues. If you’ve been hurt or betrayed by someone close it can be challenging to trust people.

But most of us probably trust at least some people to a certain extent. Because we’re human, we wonder, “Will they follow through?” “Do they really care?” “Do they got my back?” 

It’s very rare to have someone in your life that you can trust with ALL of your heart; but you can trust God that way!

He made you, knows everything about you, and still loves you perfectly; He still has only good plans for your future, even though He knows all about your past.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

To lean not on our own understanding doesn’t mean we check our brains in at the door, that we don’t pull from experience, counsel, or common sense, it just means that that’s not ALL that we do.

We also pray…in all our ways we acknowledge Him.

To acknowledge the Lord is more than just nodding in His direction. The Hebrew word “Yada” means to know intimately. It’s the same word used in Genesis 4:1, where the Bible says that “…Adam Eve knew his wife and she conceived…”

If I have a heart to know God, and know His will, He will show up and show the way…and He shall direct our paths.

NLT, “…He will show you which path to take.”

Nehemiah 9:12, “Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the road Which they should travel.”

Sometimes I trip out, how did I end up with such a beautiful bride, how did I become a family man? How is it that I’m a pastor, in what I consider to be a very special city, El Monte, how did I become part of this congregation?

By God’s grace, He has directed my paths…

This was Kay Smith’s life verse. I have a hunch it’s a favorite for many of us.  If you ever need that special direction from God (like every day) please know it’s rooted in a deep and personal relationship with God – just draw near to hear.

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.

January 9

Genesis 20:1-22:24

It’s important to know that a half-truth is a whole lie. It’s hard to fathom the thought that Abraham and Sarah once again lied like this about their relationship. It’s true, Abraham was the half-brother of Sarah (Genesis 20:12) but they were married, they were husband and wife. Hadn’t they learned their lesson? Apparently not. But the LORD showed them grace upon grace, He protected them and the promise He made to them.

Warren Wiersbe, “God spoke to the heathen king but not to His own friend, Abraham! Although God kept the king from sinning, He allowed Abraham to lie! God called Abraham to be a blessing, but now he had become a curse in the land. God was protecting Sarah, Isaac, and His great plan of salvation.”

I love what we read in Genesis 21:2, “…at the set time.”

God is never late, but neither is He ever early, He is always right on time. Abraham was 100, Sarah was 90 (Genesis 17:17) the child of promise was an undeniable miracle.

The time came for Hagar and Ishmael to be cast out (Ishmael is typology of the flesh – Galatians 4:21-30). Earlier in life, Sarah steered her husband Abraham wrong, this time her counsel was correct. Abraham didn’t want to do it, but God confirmed it and he obeyed…for in Isaac his seed would be called (Genesis 21:12).

The truth of God’s perpetual presence in Abraham’s life is a truth about all of God’s people (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Do others notice that about you? May it be evident in us as it was in Abraham, so that even non-believers will take note.

Genesis 21:22 (NKJV) “And it came to pass at that time that Abimelech and Phichol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, ‘God is with you in all that you do.’”

Genesis 22 is an epic chapter. This is the first time the word “love” is found in the Bible (that sounds significant to me). 

God tested Abraham.

Genesis 22:2 (NKJV) “Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’”

As I try to put myself in Abraham’s sandals, I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the request to sacrifice my son, especially considering the miraculous birth, and the promise of God. But Abraham did not hesitate to obey. How was he able to do this? We have the explanation in New Testament light.

Hebrews 11:17–19 (NKJV) “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

Abraham completely believed God’s promise; Abraham was thoroughly convinced that even if Isaac died, he would be raised from the dead.

Genesis 22 is an amazing picture (typology) of what would actually take place close to 2,000 years later, when God the Father would give His only Son, the Son that He loved, Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for our sins. When Isaac asked his father about the sacrifice, Abraham’s response was literally, “The LORD will provide Himself the Lamb.” 

Another fascinating fact is the location of the sacrifice. One day the Temple would be built at this exact location, on Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1).

Genesis 22:14 is the origin of another one of God’s Names – Yawheh-Yireh (Jehovah Jireh) = the Lord will provide. May we remember His name and promise to provide!

Abraham passed the test with flying colors. O Lord, may we do the same whenever our love is tested!

Matthew 7:15-29

Beware of false prophets. They look like sheep, but it’s only because we look on the outside, superficially. A closer look reveals the fact that they do not bear the fruit of the Spirit and their message is not actually the Bible. Look closer. Listen more attentively.

Jesus may be addressing the false prophets themselves when He says that simply because a person professes Christ as Lord, is used by God to prophesy, cast out demons, and do MANY miracles in HIs name (Matthew 7:22) it doesn’t mean that person is saved. We truly need to examine our lives no matter what our profession, position, or practice may be  (2 Corinthians 13:5).

We’re all building a home (our lives). Some are building on a good foundation, while others are building on the sand. One day the storms of life will come to all of us – will you stand? It all depends on whether or not you’ve been building on the Rock by hearing AND obeying God’s Word (Matthew 7:24-27).

Psalm 9:1-12

David writes so many songs about the spiritual battles he’s entrenched in. He looks to the Lord to take care of his enemies; may we do the same.

A few verses that stood out to me:

Psalm 9:8a (NKJV) “He shall judge the world in righteousness…”

It may be happening – very soon.

Psalm 9:9 (NKJV) “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

May we run to Him, He is our shelter in the storm.

Psalm 9:10 (NKJV) “And those who know Your Name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

It is not just beneficial, it’s beautiful to know the names of God. Study them, seek Him, you’ll be blessed if you do.

Proverbs 2:16-22

Proverbs 2:16–22 (NKJV) “To deliver you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words, 17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. 18 For her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead; 19 None who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life— 20 So you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness. 21 For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; 22 But the wicked will be cut off from the earth, and the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.”

The Hebrew word translated, “deliver” means to take away, to snatch away, it means to rescue from ruin; and that’s what God does for us when He wedges that wisdom into our hearts.

The immoral woman lures with her looks, but she hooks with her words.

Our heart pitter-patters with the way she flatters; and you think, wow, she sees what my wife doesn’t see, finally a woman with proper perspective.

Or the ladies get that attention from some other man – the attention that their husbands neglect to give…he’s a smooth operator.

And first there’s the friendship, then the flattery, then the flirting, and finally the fall.

Be careful, flattery is not communication it’s manipulation; it’s telling us things about ourselves that we enjoy hearing and wish were true.

“O Manny I like your grey hair, your wrinkles show character,” to the brother that’s bald, she comes and says, “I love your receding hair line?” Really, my wife wants me to get a toupe?

As Christians, men who know about the war and get a little wisdom, we begin to realize that the only reason the girl is interested in you is ‘cuz the devil’s interested in you.

We know:

Proverbs 6:26 (NKJV) “For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.”

Proverbs 7:26 (NKJV) “For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men.”

(Consider Samson)

It’s so sad how we see in v. 17 that not only is this immoral woman a married woman, she used to attend church. It can happen in the church? Yes!

There are many warnings in wisdom v. 18-19.

Proverbs 7:27 (NKJV) “Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.”

With so many Christian men and women falling into sexual sin, I cherish the Proverbs and the heavy warnings. Her house leads to death. None who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life. (Proverbs 2:18-19).

O Lord, please keep me…us pure!

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.

January 8

Genesis 18:16-19:38

Abraham was a friend of God  (see 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23) and God makes much more known to His friends than He does to others (see John 15:15).

The LORD lets Abraham know that He was considering complete judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, so God sent the two men (angels) before Him. Abraham immediately thought of his nephew Lot, so he began to intercede on His behalf. This is a fascinating conversation/prayer between Abraham and God. Abraham begins by expresses his faith in the justice of God, “Far be it from You…to slay the righteous with the wicked. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 

As Abraham continued to pray, he asked God not to judge the righteous with the wicked, in all reality he was praying for his nephew Lot. He asked the Lord, would You spare the city for 50? 45? 40? 30? 20? 

And then we read in:

Genesis 18:32 (NKJV) “Then he said, ‘Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: suppose ten should be found there?’ And He said, ‘I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.’”

Apparently there weren’t even ten righteous in these cities, so our just and holy God was forced to judge Sodom and Gomorrah. We read back in Genesis 18:20 that the outcry against these cities was great, that their sin was grave, it was flagrant. No doubt there were MANY sins in Sodom and Gomorrah, but a simple reading of the account reveals blatant, unashamed, and aggressive homosexuality. This sin was so horrible in the eyes of even the marginal believer Lot, that he offered his daughters as wives instead of the men. But the men of Sodom and Gomorrah would not back down.

God was forced to judge Sodom and Gomorrah and rained down fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:23), but before He did, God was merciful to Lot (Genesis 19:16) and his two daughters. God remembered the prayers of intercession from His friend Abraham (Genesis 19:29) and removed them before the land was leveled.

So many lessons to learn.

  1. 1. The value of intercession.

2. That God won’t judge the righteous with the wicked, pointing to the Rapture of the Church before the Tribulation Period (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

3. The sin of homosexuality (something that used to be recognized as wrong is now strutting down main street – aggressively).

4. The way we need to flee the counsel of this world, its ways, and the judgment to come.

5. May I never look back, as Lot’s wife did and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot’s wife didn’t simply look back to see the fireworks, she wanted to go back; somehow her heart was attached and wouldn’t let go. Jesus warned us in:

Luke 17:32 (NKJV) “Remember Lot’s wife.”

Got Questions said this about Lot’s wife, “The Hebrew for “looked back” means more than to glance over one’s shoulder. It means “to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.” The Scriptures don’t say whether her death was a punishment for valuing her old life so much that she hesitated in obeying, or if it was a simple consequence of her reluctance to leave her life quickly. Either she identified too much with the city—and joined it—or she neglected to fully obey God’s warning, and she died.”

Jesus also said in:

Luke 9:62 (NKJV) “‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

In Genesis 19:30-38 we have the horrible beginning of the nations of Moab and Ammon through drunken incest. What a broken world we live in.

Matthew 6:25-7:14

Jesus reminds me not to worry about anything, including clothes and food. If our Heavenly Father takes care of the birds of the air, will He not take care of us? His children?

When Jesus asks the question about whether or not anyone could add one cubit to his stature through worry, I have a hunch He’s telling us that no one grows by worrying. On the contrary, we grow by NOT worrying, by simply trusting our Father!

I cannot overstate the value of priorities. Is God first in my life? If He is, He promises to add “…all these things.”

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

How I need to be careful of a critical spirit. It’s okay to want to help your brother or sister who’s struggling, but it must be done with the utmost care. Jesus informs us that the only way to be able to remove the speck from my brother’s eye, is to remove the plank/beam from my own eye (Matthew 7:5).

Sandy Adams, “Optical surgery and confronting a brother are both sensitive operations. Be careful before you barge into another person’s life with a stain on your own.”

Be persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7). In the Greek language we literally read that we are to “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking.”

I know it’s more than this but I believe we are to keep on asking for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, we are to keep on seeking the Lord Himself, and we are to keep on knocking on those doors of ministry opportunity; let’s see which one’s He opens (1 Corinthians 16:9; Colossians 4:3).

Our Father is eager to give good gifts to His children!

Psalm 8:1-9

What a beautiful Psalm on how much God values mankind! Isn’t it mind boggling to think that the Maker and Maintainer of all things is mindful of us? He even visits us! (Psalm 8:3-4)

You may have noticed the distinction in your Bible between the LORD and Lord (Psalm 8:19). LORD (all caps) is the covenant name of God. This Psalm begins and ends with the fact that the God of the Bible, (the LORD) is our Lord, which means He’s the master, commander, the shot-caller in our lives. This is why we must confess Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:91 Corinthians 12:3). We must surrender to His Lordship.

Psalm 8:2 teaches us the power of pure praise that comes from children. This is why, whenever I’m desperate, I ask the children to pray for me.

Psalm 8:2 (NIV) “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

But then again, all believers are children of God (1 John3:1).

Just a little reminder today – the Maker and Maintainer of the stars and the moon is mindful of us, He’s thinking of us. He made us too…a little lower than the angels (for now). God gave us dominion over the works of His hands (the earth) and even the beasts of the field. 

We have an absolutely awesome, powerful, and personal God – who visits us – He’s with us, every day. I pray that truth encourages you in whatever trials you might be facing in life.

Proverbs 2:6-15

Proverbs 2:6–15 (NKJV) “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; 8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. 10 When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, 11 Discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, 13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked; 15 Whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths;”

Wisdom is…from the LORD ( Proverbs 2:6-7a). It’s all from Him and for Him; in one sense we can kinda say that wisdom IS Him, it’s God’s guide to God, and godliness.

Paul the Apostle, speaking of Christ, wrote in:

Colossians 2:3 (NKJV) “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

In this wisdom there is protection. HE Himself is a shield to those who walk wisely

Psalms 84:11 (NKJV) “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

It doesn’t mean we won’t get hit with hardships, it just means that we as His people, will only get hit with what He permits, and if He allows that pain, look for the purpose, for surely, He is our shield, He protects us.

He preserves us, God is our guard.

V. 9 mentions “righteousness” – we’ll know what’s right and wrong

V. 9 mentions “justice” – we’ll know who’s right and wrong

V. 9 also mentions equity – this is a little bit of both of the above, one translations say it’s to be “fair” – where there’s equity, there will be equality and impartiality.

In wisdom there is protection from the Evil man (12-15)

In Proverbs 2:12 the word “deliver” means to take away, to snatch away, it means to rescue from ruin; and that’s what God does for us when He wedges that wisdom into our hearts. And here’s an evil man that somehow made his way into your life; maybe you met him at work or at school. Maybe you grew up together, best friends, blood brothers, you started going to church together, but somehow, somewhere along the line this man left the paths of uprightness (v. 13) to walk in the ways of darkness.

That man can become a magnet to draw you away; maybe he’s got the money, and it looks like he’s having a lot of fun. How many have we seen people “fall away?” But a person who falls away doesn’t just fall away they drift away (Hebrews 2:1).

They’re not engaged in the Pursuit of wisdom.

They’re not really interested in the Person of wisdom 

So the enemy tries to use them to tempt you to go with that flow.

My prayer is that when this Covid trial is all said and done, that the church will somehow be stronger then when it all started…but sometimes you wonder, Lord who’s coming back?

A lot of it has to do with our influences and friends (eventually I had to come to the place where Jesus was my best friend; and I had to surround myself with godly friends – have you done that?)

Proverbs 12:26, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

Who’s your best friend?

Abide in Christ, stay on track, keep on believing, for there are those , “…who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness,” (Proverbs 2:13) soberly heartbreaking.

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.

January 7

Genesis 16:1-18:15

The “clock” was running out (so they thought). Sarai was naturally too old to have a child. So Sarai convinces her husband Abram to go in to her maidservant Hagar in order to have  children. It’s an absolute tragedy that Sarai and Abram refused to wait on the LORD. They decided to go the way of the world, of the flesh, and “help” God out. Hagar did indeed get pregnant, but immediately the unnecessary troubles began.

God help us to wait on Him, to trust the LORD to fulfill His plans for our lives in His timing. The descendants of Ishmael would eventually become the Arab nations. (Click HERE for more on this)

Warren Wiersbe, “Faith and patience always go together (Heb. 6:12; James 1:1–5). Isaiah declared, “Whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isa. 28:16). We must trust God not only for His plan but also for His timing. Before He could send the promised son, God had to wait until Abram and Sarai were as good as dead (Rom. 4:19–21; Heb. 11:11–12). Sarai leaned on human understanding instead of God’s promises (Prov. 3:5–6). She trusted a woman from Egypt instead of the God of heaven.”

The LORD loves everyone involved, so when Hagar runs away He pursues her and convinces her to return to Sarai with a heart of submission. How gracious and personal God is! Hagar realizes this and even referred to the LORD as “El Roi” which means “The God-Who-Sees” (Genesis 16:13). The well nearby was then called “Beer Lahai Roi” which literally means, “The One Who lives and sees me.”


As we experience the the hard times in life, we need to remember, our way is not hidden from the Lord, He really does see and will act on our behalf…wait on Him (Isaiah 40:27-31).

Abram was 86-years-old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). God appeared to him 13 years later (Genesis 17:1).

God changed his name from Abram ( high or exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). Again, God promised Abraham the Land, and again God promised Abraham many descendants. God then instituted circumcision as a covenant between them which symbolized the cutting away of the flesh (the fallen sin nature). God promised a son to Abraham through his wife and changed her name from Sarai (she that strives) to Sarah (princess, a woman of high rank).

When the LORD promised a son to this couple, Abraham laughed and doubted. Sarah later laughed as well (Genesis 17:17; 18:12), so much for their amazing faith. I find it encouraging as a parent that Abraham had been praying for Ishmael and God said He had heard those prayers (Genesis 17:20). Abraham assumed Ishmael was the child of promise, but God said no, His covenant would be through Isaac (his name means laughter). Doesn’t that bring a smile to your heart?

Why the delay? Many factors are involved in God’s timing but ultimately when Isaac was born, there would be absolutely no doubt about it – this son is a miracle!

Hebrews 11:12 (NKJV) “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

Matthew 6:1-24

“When you do a charitable deed…” (Matthew 6:2)

“When you pray…” (Matthew 6:5)

“When you fast…” (Matthew 6:16)

These are things Jesus assumes we will do as His children. May we do so almost secretly, obediently, and with sincerity, not to be seen by others so they’d think we’re godly. Let’s repent of the desire to impress others, let’s live only to bless God.

In Matthew 6:9-13 we have what’s been called a “Model Prayer.” When we pray may we have reverence for Our Father, may we seek His Kingdom and His will. He is the Giver of the Bread of Life, every day of our lives. As we ask for forgiveness for the sins we’ve committed against God we MUST also be sure to forgive those who have wronged us. And how important it is to ask the Lord to protect and deliver us from temptation and the evil one.

One last thing about this prayer. Did you notice that when you pray this prayer you’re praying for the entire church? (notice the words “US”  and “WE” are found 5 times in this prayer)

God help us to invest our time, talents, and treasures towards His Kingdom, towards the things that are everlasting. People try, but no one is able to serve both God and money. Eventually our loyalty will be tested and revealed. 

Warren Wiersbe, “We lay up treasures in heaven when we consider that all we have belongs to God and we use it to magnify His righteousness and advance His kingdom. It means much more than merely giving offerings to God, although that is important. It means total stewardship of life so that God is in complete control and our one desire is to glorify Him.”

Is my eye good? (Matthew 6:22) When our eyes are looking at good things, our entire life will benefit. Seek after God, read the Word, watch good studies and movies, look at everyone and everything through the lenses of Lord. But if our eyes are “bad” looking and lusting after the things of this world, our life will suffer the consequences (see Proverbs 17:24).

Psalm 7:1-17

Once again, David prays for deliverance. I can’t even begin to imagine the “wars” he went through. David was being persecuted and asked God to deliver him, to save him from it, lest they tear him like lions. The devil is described as a lion in:

 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

David’s sobriety and vigilance was prayer. 

He also checked his own life. As far as he could see, he was living a life of integrity. David spoke with God and basically said, “If I’m in sin, if I’m at fault…”

Psalm 7:5 (NKJV) “Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; yes, let him trample my life to the earth, and lay my honor in the dust. Selah”

That’s a heavy prayer! I don’t think I can pray a prayer like that, for I do fail and fall short, every day and in every area of my life.

David prayed for God to deal with his enemies.

With New Testament light we realize that our battle is not against people, but it’s against the demons behind them (Ephesians 6:12). We are to love our enemies and pray for them to be saved – we give it all to God, praying for wisdom and then let Him handle it (He always does a better job).

As God’s people, when it’s all said and done – we will praise Him. We have peace and confidence. That’s how David ends this Psalm – yes almost all the Psalms end on a high-note, on an “up” beat (Psalm 7:17). Yours should too. 

As we find ourselves traveling through tough and trying times, may we do our best to look up.

Proverbs 2:1-5

Proverbs 2:1–4 (NKJV) My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;

I. The Pursuit of Wisdom (1-4)

In verses 1-4 we see 8 imperatives (commands) and 3 “ifs”

“If” you receive my words (v. 1) – – we must be open to it

V. 3 “If” you cry out for discernment – we must be praying for it

V. 4 “If” you seek her as silver – we must be searching for it

The word “If” may be small, but it makes ALL the difference in the world

(see 2 Chronicles 7:14)

We can go way back to the book of Genesis 4:6-7, “So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? IF you do well, will you not be accepted? And IF you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

You should do well; the choice is yours.

Some people blame it all on God, acknowledging only His powerful sovereignty, but we must also look to ourselves and rise to our personal responsibility. 

IF you receive God’s Word

IF you cry out for discernment

IF you seek her as silver

3 “Ifs” and 8 imperatives (commands)

1. Receive (1a)

2. Treasure (1b)

Do we treasure His truth? Is that how we view and value the Bible?

The Hebrew word translated treasure (tsaw-fan’) literally means “to hide.” And it’s the same word used in:

Psalms 119:11 (NKJV) “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!”

3. Incline (2a)

You incline your ear. You know how it is, when you live in an apartment, and you’re having problems making out the exact words being used in the argument that the next-door neighbors are having, and so you put a cup to the wall, you tell the kids to be quiet, shhhh, I’m trying to hear what they’re saying so I know how to pray for them.

To incline your ear is when your spiritual antennas are up; you’re tuned-in to that station of revelation.

4. Apply (2b)

Through the ears and into the mind – but that’s not enough, you want it to land in your heart, for out of it spring the issues of life.

You’re not like those people Jesus spoke of in:

Matthew 15:8 (NKJV) “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”

The NLT says, they “concentrate on understanding.”

When your heart is IN IT; applications means we learn it to live it

5. Cry out (3a)

Not just praying nominally, this is a cry for wisdom, a cry of desperation.

(Solomon asked for wisdom)

James 1:5 (NKJV) “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

6. Lift up your voice (3b)

(Crying out = desperation; Lifting up our voice = direction)

Psalms 121:1-2, “<<A Song of Ascents.>> I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

There are those times when a moment of silence is not enough, hands folded, eyes closed; no, there are those times, when we are to pray passionately, out loud, lifting our voice, our hands, lifting our eyes to the One who hears our cries.

7. Seek (4a)

8. Search (4b)

There’s nothing more valuable and it won’t be found with a nominal, casual, glance here and there every once in a while.

It’s more important than looking for lost keys, or a misplaced wallet or wedding ring.

Proverbs 16:16 (NKJV) “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

But Manny, we need wealth to live; true, but we need wisdom to live spiritually; not just below but above, not just in time but eternity.

That’s why we have this first point: I. The Pursuit of Wisdom (1-4)

I was studying the life of King Edward VI, and I was so impressed by this young King of England born in 1537, how as a young man – a teenager he would stand whenever he heard the Word of God, he would take detailed notes, and then afterwards he would peruse those notes, he would study them carefully, vigorously, and thoroughly and then he would seal the deal, by spending time in meditation. Even though he died young, the history books tell us that, “The transformation of the Church of England into a recognizably Protestant body occurred under King Edward VI, who took great interest in Spiritual matters.

It was the Pursuit of Wisdom

II. The Person of Wisdom

Proverbs 2:5 (NKJV) “Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”

1. Wisdom is synonymous with the Fear of the LORD (v. 5a)

2. Wisdom is synonymous with Finding the LORD (v. 5b)

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.

January 6

Genesis 13:5-15:21

There are those times when moves need to be made. In this case, Abram and his nephew Lot were growing with more people and possessions. Abram was the one who made the suggestion for separation so that there would be no strife between them (a good thing).

But Lot lacked wisdom. He did not investigate or scout out the land; it just looked good to him. We read no record of him asking God (praying about where to go). As a young man he should have left the decision to his uncle. I can’t help but think that these words we read in the Bible about Lot are derogatory in nature:

Genesis 13:1, “Then Lot chose for himself…”

God then gave to Abram what we call the Abrahamic Covenant. God promised Abram (Abraham) the land of Canaan extending all the way to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18) (Genesis 13:15 tells us that this promise is “forever”). Another part of this covenant is God’s promise to Abraham of an almost innumerable number of descendants. God has kept His promise to Abraham, and during the Millennial Kingdom Israel will claim all the land of the covenant.

It didn’t take long for Lot to fall into trouble and he and his family were taken away by the enemy. When Abram heard, he came to his nephew’s rescue – recovering all. I’ve always been blessed by the fact that Abraham’s servants were ready for war, did you notice that he and his 318 servants were “trained” (Genesis 14:14)?

After the victory, enters this mysterious figure named Melchizedek, King of Salem. He was the Priest of God Most High. Although I can’t be dogmatic, I’m of the opinion that this was a theophany, that Melchizedek was none other than Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus is the King of Salem (Jerusalem).
  • Jesus is the final  and forever High Priest of God (Psalm 110:4 – a prophecy of Jesus).
  • Melchizedek’s name means, “King of Righteousness.”
  • Melchizedek is described in the Bible as having no human genealogy; this is prior to the incarnation.
  • Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:4).
  • And isn’t it interesting that here in Genesis 14:18 we have the bread and the wine? Hmmm, where have I heard that spoken of in significance? (communion)

I believe it was Jesus who enabled Abraham to have that spiritual victory over the enemy. It’s the same victory He offers to all of us (Philippians 4:13).

What a beautiful passage in:

Genesis 15:1 (NKJV) “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’”

Again the LORD brought Abraham out and showed him all the stars (before lights and pollution). The LORD said, “So shall your descendants be.” And then we read those epic words in:

Genesis 15:6 (NKJV) “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”

This is one of the passages the New Testament writers will later point to as Scriptural proof of salvation by faith (not works). Abraham simply believed and was saved. He believed and God’s righteousness was accounted to him (see also Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23). We are saved by faith not works, but, as James points out, if we’re truly saved, works WILL follow as evidence of salvation.

Matthew 5:27-48

Jesus teaches with authority and reminds me that my life as a disciple of His, must be true…in my heart.

You may have noticed Jesus’ words, “You have heard that it was said…” “…but I tell you.” Jesus clarified God’s Word to us and taught with authority. Adultery is not simply this physical act, it takes place in the heart any time any of us look to lust. We don’t need to swear, as some back then were demanding, all we need to do is keep our word. In personal matters it must not be an “eye for an eye” mentality. We must love those who insult us (be patient) and even love our enemies. Isn’t this how God is? (Romans 5:8)

When Jesus speaks of plucking out an eye, or cutting off our hand in order to keep ourselves from hell (Matthew 5:29-30), it is not to be done literally, He’s simply warning us that we should deal severely with any sin in our own lives – cut it off!

Matthew 5:39 can be a tough command to obey!

Matthew 5:39 (NKJV) “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”

(see also Proverbs 19:11)

We’re called to overlook the insult, the sin, the wrong done to us, and simply be silent (Isaiah 53:7).

Matthew Henry, “The plain instruction is, suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord’s keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort.”

If we say we’re God’s children we should strive to be like Him, to be perfect, which speaks of maturity (Matthew 5:48).

Psalm 6:1-10

In Psalm 6 David is severely ill, on the brink of death. He sees it as a combination of God’s discipline (God allowing it) and the enemy coming against him. So he prays…and he’s confident, God will hear and God will heal (Psalm 6:9).

I believe that when people get hit physically, financially, emotionally, etc., they also enter into a battle spiritually. The enemy tries to capitalize on it and discourage us. David was struggling…he writes and questions:

Psalm 6:3 (NKJV) “My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O LORD—how long?”

It wasn’t just a physical thing. It never is. It’s for that reason we need to look up and do what David did – have faith, pray, and stay focused on the Lord.

Proverbs 1:29-33

Proverbs 1:29–33 (NKJV) “Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. 31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies. 32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”

1. Wisdom personified explains

Because you refused wisdom’s call

Because you disdained wisdom’s counsel

Because you refused the fear of the LORD

2. Wisdom personified warns

I will laugh at your calamity

I will mock at your terror

I will not answer your call (after you cross that “line”)

3. Wisdom personified declares

You will eat the fruit of your own way

You will be filled to the full with your own fancies

If you think about it judgment at its core is simply God honoring the decisions of those created in His own image. We make our decisions and our decisions make us; we will choose where we spend eternity and the quality of life we live…God simply honors our choices.

Wisdom is preventative! Turn away from the truth – be a fool – and you’re dead meat. Often people seek wisdom to get out of trouble. But the point of wisdom is to prevent the damage in the first place. It’s been said, “What a fool does in the end the wise man does in the beginning.” 

Some turn away.

Some are complacent.

We want to be one of those who listen.

Proverbs 1:31 is another reminder that we make our decisions and then our decisions make us.  We will eventually and inevitably reap tomorrow what we sow today (Galatians 6:7-9).

So Manny, make good decisions – sow good seed.

I cringe at the word “complacency.” Complacency is defined as, “a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.”

O Lord, I do rest in Your righteousness, but may I never have that feeling on this side of time that I’ve arrived, which may lead to Christian-cruise-control. May I always seek You passionately, everyday of my life.”