Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Devotions and Lessons
Scripture of the Week:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Seek the Truth and you will gain wisdom. What does it mean when we hear that?
Proverbs 2:3-5 says, ”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;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.
Right at the front the search for wisdom is a scream. Nah, just kidding. Wisdom is not found by yelling out to God saying, "I want wisdom now". When and pray for understanding the truth in the Word, we are seeking to know it because it is the truth that will bring us closer to the Father. Therefore, Wisdom is the most valuable thing in the world because it is God’s Word, the truth. God speaks to us through the Word and it protects us when we fear and understand that God is our protector, our shield. Understanding and staying in the Word keeps us faithful and righteous. Wisdom in truth keeps our values and morals in line with God. The Word (wisdom, truth) is in our heart and helps the mind determine right from wrong.
Here is something to chew on. Was God telling the people of the time that the Holy Spirit is the truth in wisdom and wanted them to feel the truth way before He sent His Son? After all, these were His chosen people who were supposed to share the truth with the world. Look at Proverbs 2:10-15:
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;
Do you see it? Can you feel the Word flowing through the Spirit at this point? I mean really. When wisdom (Holy Spirit, Truth, CHRIST) enters your heart, and knowledge (the Word) is pleasant to your soul, 11 Discretion (Truth) will preserve you; Understanding (knowing the Word) will keep you (Truth protects us from all evil). Next two verses speak of resisting temptation and making right decisions in our faith walk.
So, what is the value of wisdom? We cannot place a currency on it. Wisdom is the most precious gift that God gave us in truth. They just couldn’t get it so He sent the Word made flesh, JESUS!, to help us understand life and how to live in a godly manner.
Remember being the innocent child that saw others doing things considered fun but then got in trouble. Or even being the one who did something you thought was ok but it turned out to be something that ended badly. How about being the one who wanted to be accepted so you joined a group of people that ended up being a bad influence. That is what is being warned about in the first section of Proverbs. This is reminiscent of God telling Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge but they are influenced otherwise. The simplest form of this is PEER PRESSURE. It is defined as a social pressure by members of one's peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted.
Proverbs opens with 1:10-19 warning of the evils of peer pressure to sin.
My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. 11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; 12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14 cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— 15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. 17 How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! 18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! 19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
Peer pressure is one of the easiest ways for Satan to temp us into sin. When he already has a couple convinced to do something, they can convince others, pressuring (enticing) through intimidation, deception, testing, bullying, seduction, and at worst: blackmail.
Earlier in Exodus, God warns His people to go against the crowd, to be different.
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.
If the majority is going with one decision that you know is wrong, do not follow but be different. Ever walk the opposite way on a sidewalk and have to squeeze through the crowd to get where you are going, same idea. We should be independent when others are following the wrong thing blindly, look through the Father’s eyes seeking His help and go His way.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:12-15 ESV
How easy it is to just go with the flow but when the flow downhill leads to temptation and sin it is a real hard swim. This boils down to knowing whom you associate yourself with. In this technological age there are ways to discover past deeds just by clicking a button. There is also word of mouth which cannot always be trusted either. People can secretly ensnare others into a sinful trap through means of innocent transgressions which are not very innocent at all.
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians Ch.1:10
Seeking approval of another is not always a good thing when there is an evil or sinful intent. Whose wisdom are we to seek, God’s or that of man?
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew Ch.10:28
Here is the fear of the Lord. Remember, Man can destroy physically but those who sin and do not seek forgiveness or have Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be destroyed in the flames of Hell.
Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! Acts Ch.5:29
The right answer of all things, Obedience to the Father in Heaven is much better than obeying the lawless peers who will entice you into sin through temptations of fame, money, a materially satisfying lifestyle, which lead to the corruption of the soul.
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". Romans Ch.12:2
There is a lot of peer pressure to conform to the standards set by the world, and without a doubt it is possible for anyone to be caught up and absorbed into the system without even trying. Paul speaks of not conforming to this world. This current world of decaying morality, beliefs are being tested, values and character are at odds within Christian circles as well as the social standards of the day. We have seen laws put into effect that go against God’s teachings. We have seen leaders pressured into making very bad and unchristian like decisions that corrupt the nation. The media has placed sexual immorality as a way to entice people to buy into products corrupting the youth and the nation. People are pressured into racial violence and the truth was hidden to make matters worse.
How do we fight this, stay true to God’s Word and His Plan will flourish. Jesus is the model for right society not some of the popular so called Christ Followers who incite violence. Do not give in to earthly peer pressure, it may be the last decision you make.
Psalm 1:1-2 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
The answer is....Of Course it Does. Some say it is outdated, many say that the way of living written in Scripture should not apply this day and age. Guess what! God's Word never is too outdated or old fashioned when it is looked at through the eyes of a true believer. Believe it or not, God's teachings throughout Scripture stand the test of time. Sure the way things are done are slightly different from the ancient of days but the results remain the same.
I was beginning a study of Proverbs and I discovered something amazing, check out how the first 7 chapters start:
1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
2 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
3 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
4 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.
5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.
6 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.
7 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Did you notice a pattern? Chapters two to seven chapters in Proverbs start with Listen or My son. What does that say? Original interpretations say that it is meant for fathers to sons but I can honestly say the designs of Proverbs are given from parent to child. The Book of Proverbs covers almost all facets of living a good and godly life.
Proverbs 1:8-9 tells the reader to pay attention to the words of both parents. In fact, we are to wear (keep) the words close to (in) our hearts and minds. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Joshua was told by God to keep His Word on the heart and mind. In fact, he was told to wear it as well. The Hebrews took the wearing literally by wearing boxes, tassels, and other items. How do Christians wear it today? T-shirts, rings, hats, even piercings. All that is great but what is the truth of it? Do the words on the shirt match the truth in the heart? Do you practice what you advertise? Are the clothes worn with pride of your faith but your actions different? Are you true to yourself and the Father. What you wear and how you hold yourself should be a reflection of your heart and mind.
It says nothing about wearing your heart on your sleeve or anything like that. The Word we learn is Scripture, Law, God’s Commands to us for living a godly life. Since we cannot do it alone God sent His Son to teach us what to do then sent the Holy Spirit to guide our lives to be in a Godly manner.
Chapter two says we are to seek Him. Finding the truth in Scripture and not the world. Calling out, crying for understanding is spending time in prayer. Not just a short one but a constant seeking of wisdom and understanding. In other words, When reading Scripture, meditate on it and ask God for a full understanding of what is being said.
Chapter three begins with a reminder to keep the Scripture close and live in the way God wishes. Doing so will be rewarded with a spiritual peace (ease of mind) so you can prosper on the earth and in the spirit, living a very rich (not material) life.
Then He tells us not to forget His teachings. Sometimes when we are out and about in the world we forget some of the teachings and then suffer the consequence.
When we know the Word and live it well, we can speak it. Telling others is part of what we are supposed to do. If we do not share it then are we being good stewards of His Commands to us.
When we speak it we need to ensure we are in full understanding what we are saying.
Chapter six tells us to be fully aware of our words, that they are truth and nothing of what is not the Lords. Anything that leaves our lips can be used against us if it is false. In this day and age even speaking the truth gets us in trouble so be aware of your surroundings but do not fear others when speaking the truth in Scripture.
Finally, Live a godly life, speaking in the truth of the Father. Know the Word well and do not pervert it for your own worldly good. Speak correctly and in truth so that God will shine through you. When they listen they will hear Christ, they will hear God. Cherish the Word as if it is a precious stone. Build upon it so that others may turn from sin and find God in their hearts and share the Word with more. That is just the beginning of Proverbs, just wait there is more.
So here is a question for you. Are you being true to Christ or going through the Motions. Here is a link to my Daughter singing Motions. https://youtu.be/GD_pIbrNxvM
This has been a very rough week. Seems like every day was a challenge but nothing so big I could not handle the situations. Tempers got tested as well as having to deal with many different things. Tomorrow I am going to try and share a video of my daughter, Katrina. She sang Motions at church this past Sunday and it was very moving (pardon the pun). I mean tears in many eyes. Anyway I have been studying Proverbs and noticed something as I was going through my notes. Did you know that the first seven chapters basically tell the child to "heed the words of the parent"? When I realized this I did some more research of which I am in the process of writing something up. Let us just say that the father could be THE FATHER telling His children (US) to heed His Word. Reading and meditating on it, I see that the first part of the book is a look into the wisdom of following the Ten Commandments. That would be about right would it not. The first thing we want to teach a child who can comprehend right from wrong is God's Law. Then the child is told how to better distinguish and then given a reason why. I mean WOW, God opened that up to me in a way I never thought before. I think He was telling me to stop sweating the rough week because HE HAS CONTROL. There was so much going on and I was sweating things out of my touch so I raised my hands and asked God to take it and He did. Feeling much better after a day of rest. I have tended my garden (prepping for planting), put a pork butt in the smoker (10 pounder), did some laundry and mostly talked with the Father. Well, I better sign off for now, still have some work to do and get ready to take my best friend and wife to dinner.
Sheila felt like no one loved her anymore, no one even cares what happens to her, no one wants to be around her because of one small mistake. Disowned by her parents and unloved by her boyfriend she was left broken and alone. She felt like the whole world hated her. She went to church as a child but fell away when the world enticed her too much. She got into a bad crowd and now even the one she considered her best friend won’t acknowledge her presence even on social media. Sheila is alone. Or is she???
Does that situation sound a little familiar, maybe a bit too close to home for some but guess what, there is good news. Sheila is not truly alone and neither are we. What she does not know is that God is there, He is watching over her. Remember, we are broken and sometimes we must be completely torn apart before we see Jesus.
Being alone is a physical thing. What Sheila is going through is the state of mind brought on by feelings of separation and isolation called loneliness. The worst feeling in the world is that of loneliness. Remember the story of Joseph the dreamer. His brothers made him feel isolated and unwelcome. They threw him in a well then sold him into slavery. The only peace Joseph had was the knowledge that God was with him.
Sometimes when we feel alone, we forget that God is there, even in darkest times God is right there. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Jesus tells us that it is the Holy Spirit, the very breath of God, within us that comforts us in our time of need. In some, the Spirit seems to be asleep waiting for the alarm to go off and the person to feel the warmth of He who dwells in our hearts. When the Spirit is awakened through the Word, glorious things happen. Others are too focused on worldly matters and never feel the joy that the Spirit brings. The first thing we realize as Christians is that we are not truly alone but have a kind, loving, SAVIOR living in us and watching over us.
Think of a time you felt so lonely and stressed that you felt everything was crashing down. Come on, everyone goes through that at least once. Imagine that time without Jesus, the end looks pretty bleak in that situation. Now bring Jesus back into the situation. Was there not something inside that told you to hold on for another day, the voice said, “I got this just be patient, joy comes in the morning.” Relax because you are not alone. God said that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will not forget us even when we forget to rely on Him.
When we are in prayer and having a conversation with God is that not acknowledging His presence. He is not far away but by your side feeling what you feel, knowing what you know, and guiding every good thought so that the day can be lived for His glory.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him (Psalm 91:14-15).”
Sometimes when we think we are in control God humbles us to reel us back in, recognizing that we cannot do it alone. Jonah thought He got away from responsibility and figured he could hide away and be on his own to do things on his own terms and not follow God’s commands. Poor guy got stuck in a big fish and in humility recognized he is part of God’s plan and not his own.
How lonely Mary must have felt for those few days after her Son died on that cross. Sure she had sons and daughters (blood and spirit related) but losing the one thing that gave her the greatest joy must have killed her inside. She was empty but seeing her Son filled her with gladness. Of course Mary was never alone but it sure felt that way I bet.
So how do we get over this loneliness? What do we do to feel fulfilled? Well, how about reading, listening, and hearing God’s Word (Scripture) so that we can know the Truth (Jesus) that He is alive and living in us, loves us as brothers and sisters, friends, family. Accepting Jesus into our hearts is the first step after God plants the seed within us in the work of others through His Holy Spirit. He is always there so let Jesus in.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).” Ask with a genuine heart (prayer), seek Him out in the reading of Scripture and the spiritual work of yourself and others, knock and the key shall turn to life everlasting. Amen
How about this for a promise:
But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43: 1-5
Another example of the need to give things over comes from the episode involving the rich young ruler. For those familiar with it, we know the pain. For those who do not know, here is the story. A rich young ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life. What a question to ask the King of kings. Jesus answers the young man simply but sternly. He tells the young man to keep the Commandments. The young man was taken back and said that he does that. Ok, Jesus said, also give all you have to the poor and follow me. Well that is the last thing a material rich person wants to hear so the young man went away with a heavily burdened heart because he had a lot.
So what do we do. Jesus tested the young man's heart and the young man could not give up his life for God. The question really is, "WHERE IS YOUR HEART?" Well?
Your heart is where your treasure is. Jesus is in our hearts and should be at the forefront above all things. Then family and each thing that brings happiness outside the worldly things. Things of this world do not matter when the matters of the heart are at stake. We should desire the Word, the Truth, the Life for therein lies our salvation. Nowhere else can we purchase what God has already accomplished through His Son.
When Jesus said to follow Him it was a test of the young man's faith. Obviously this young man needed to get his priorities straight. How much more needs to be said. Trust in Him and He will take care of you. Your very soul depends on it. Do not try to go it alone, we cannot. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Love Him, Trust Him, put all your faith in Him, and be blessed with treasures in Heaven (not here, up there).
How many times have you decided not to wait on God because you were impatient? Did you give everything over to God then try to do something on your own failing miserably? Young Christians (not by age but by faith) are the worst at impatience but it all boils down to that one piece; do you have enough faith in the Father that He will take care of things that are just beyond our control. Can you have the patience to wait through the storm in desperation doing what you can not to sink and watch Jesus walk on the water to bring you up? Numerous times in Scripture we hear God telling us that He has control. Not that we are just pawns in a game, sliding by as God moves the chess pieces of life, no. We are given free will to make decisions but God watches over us to make sure they are the right decisions at the right time.
If you ask God for assistance, do not expect it right away. God will guide you to the right thing as it comes. Sometimes our human independent nature takes control and we want it now which results in failing miserably. Finances are the worst to be juggling like that. Wait out the storm and God will direct you to freedom.
The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus gave dangerously colorful examples of this. The first one is out on the Sea of Galilee when there was a storm, the Disciples were panicking and Jesus was resting comfortably. The Disciples woke Him and He calmed the storm. Even with all the experienced sailors and fishermen on the boat, the boat would have sunk but Jesus was with them and calmed the storm and their fears. A second time in the waters, the Disciples were on their own again this time without Jesus. The wind and rain came crashing down and even with all their expertise could not keep the boat from going under. Jesus came to them walking on the water and Peter called out to Jesus asking to command him to come to Jesus. Jesus said, “Come to me Peter”, he walked on water but then began to sink. Before Peter was completely under he cried out for Jesus to help. Jesus did just that. Peter had faith but then was distracted (he briefly became scared). Peter lost focus on Jesus and sank without Him.
We have to keep our focus on God, having faith and trust that all actions are done for the benefit of teaching and testing us. If we grow impatient and try to do things on our own we will be like Peter, first walking on water with the Master then sinking because we lose focus. I am not saying that God is going to do all things for us so we just sit back and let things happen, no. We must actively seek Him and do His will while living our lives bring the real hard decisions and storms to Him to let God take control of the things we cannot handle or control ourselves. We get His guidance on major decisions, we ask for His thoughts on what we should do, we Give everything to God because He will take care of His children.
There are many song out there new and old that talk about trusting and obeying Jesus. One that immediately comes to mind is the old hymns, Trust and Obey.
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey
GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU. This is not an empty promise. He is our strength, our comfort, our provider, our SALVATION.
Remember "...the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine." ~ Psalm 33:18
Trust Him to see you through whatever circumstance you find yourself, for God will surely take care of you.
The messages on the blogs written on this page are within biblical adherence. Though the Scriptures listed in the blogs are directly from the Bible and other related religious writings the explanations and interpretations are in line with Biblical thinking as it relates to today’s world. The use of historical facts are to assist in the validity of the writings. The main writer of this blog site is an Ordained minister in one denomination though the views are related to all denominations so if something is said that does not fall in line with your denominational background, pray for personal discernment and understanding.