May 6, 2020

True contentment

These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him Proverbs 6:16

As I went through the list of things that God hates, it was easy to look at them at face value and say.  “well, I don’t do those things. I’m doing pretty good.”  However, I believe the point of this scripture is not so much in the actions as it is a matter of the heart.  God is looking at the intent of our heart and it is the part of each one of us the shows who we really are.  1 Samuel 16:7 says, man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.  These seven things spoken of in the Proverb are heart matters and truly identify who or what is at the core of a person, whether it of God or sin.  I want to contrast in this dose the things that God hates with the opposite concluding that this is what God loves.

So the first thing in this list is a proud look.  Since the opposite of pride is humility, it is safe to say that God loves a humble heart.  Philippians 2:3 says, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  We are to consider others even before we concern ourselves with our own needs.  This is not natural and is something that we must intentionally do if it is going to be done at all. I have said it before, but it bears repeating.  Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.  When you put your focus on others and how you can bless and impact the lives of those around you, this is true humility and definitely an attribute that pleases God.  He is all about people and wants us to be too.

The next thing that God hates is a lying tongue.  This leads me to believe that He loves truth and honesty Ephesians 4:5 says put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Later on in the same chapter of Ephesians, verse 15 says when we speak the truth in love, we grow up in all things. What we are speaking is truly what is in our heart.  Our Heavenly Father has given us a standard in His Word, so we can truly know what truth is.

God hates hands that shed innocent blood, but He loves the hands that reach out to others with the love of God.  Matthew 10:42 tells us whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.

God sees a heart that devises wicked plans but the heart that follows God’s plan is the life that blesses Him.  Ephesians 5:17 tells us not be be unwise, but to understand what the will or plan of the LORD is.  By spending time with Him and acknowledging Him in all our ways, He places the path before us and empowers us to complete our assignment.

Feet that are swift to run to evil are feet that are running away from God. God receives the heart that is quick to repent and consistently turns their life in His direction. James 4:8 tells us when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. I love this passage so much. To know that I can press into God at any time, and He will come close to me is such a great comfort especially in the days we live in.

A false witness who speaks lies sounds a lot like a lying tongue, however, I believe this is a little deeper and speaking of how our words effect others.  Instead, lets be a people who encourage each other.  

1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to comfort each other and edify one another.  This is the heart that God is looking for, that we build each other up.

Lastly, one who sows discord among brethren.  Brethren is not speaking of brothers in our natural family, but of God’s family.  Jesus told us in Matthew 5:9 that we are to be peacemakers.  Bring peace into every situation you encounter in life.  Peace is the fruit that quickly identifies God’s Spirit is present.  Especially when you are with other believers, peace should always be the atmosphere.

I know this seems like a lot to consider, but these things are plainly spelled out in this chapter not to just quickly read over, but as a guide to line our lives up with.  Certainly it is worth the time to understand the heart of God in all these attitudes of the heart.

Today I encourage you to take a look at your own heart and honestly consider if it lines up with God’s.  Use this list as a guide to discern the thoughts and intents of your heart.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us to use God’s Word to discern our thoughts and intentions, and this passage is an excellent place to start.  Be that child of God that quickly runs to Him each day in full surrender and line up your life with everything He has planned for you.  It is where true contentment is.

Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 6

May 5, 2020

Avoid traps

Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation. Proverbs 5:8 & 14

I selected these two verses out of Proverbs 5.  The entire chapter is a warning against going after the wrong things in life. The focus is on sexual purity within marriage.  However, I believe it can be applied to any of life’s struggles with sin.  It says do not go the way of temptation, in fact it says in verse 6, don’t even think about it.  This makes sense and is very good advice.  Especially in areas of your weaknesses.  Do not go where the things you may be tempted with are.  Whether its sexual or substance abuse, avoid the places that cause you to stumble. It really is easier said than done in today’s world.  Even in this time of pandemic, many (including myself) are struggling with simple addictions such as eating or tv and social media binging.  With so many restrictions, I find myself determined to enjoy eating as comfort because of so many other activities in life being off limits right now.  It is a struggle for sure, and it is wise to come up with a plan to combat these traps.

Verse 14 talks about being on the edge and what really stands out in that verse is this is someone that is a part of the congregation, the body of believers.  How many people are we sitting right next to in church services not even knowing they are struggling with some form of addictive behavior in life.

So, what is the solution when struggling with life’s temptations, lures and even bad habits?  Well, wisdom of course, but that doesn’t come automatically.  It comes back to spending time with God and His Word.  Getting to know Him and spending time growing closer and knowing Him personally.  Replace those addictive habits with activities such as exercise and reading God’s Word or books on personal growth.  Verse 21 in this chapter say: For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.  God sees all these things and He has the answers.  He knows what we face from day to day and has a plan in place for us to escape temptations and traps.  The first place to start is to surrender every area of your life to Him and ask for His strength to empower you to overcome weakness. After you do that, don’t expect things to be perfect.  You still may not get it completely right, but that’s ok.  Like all things in life, in order to get good at something, it requires practice and consistency.  Get up and do the same thing tomorrow and it won’t be long until you become a pro.

Today I want to encourage you to not go the way of temptation.  Avoid traps that you easily fall into.  Take a stand in your life with the power of the Holy Spirit against the things that draw you away from your relationship with God and purpose to spend more time with Him and His wisdom.  Use this “distancing” time as a spiritual workout.  Press into God and grow up in Him like you never have before.  Connect with friends that you walk through life with and encourage each other through whatever you are struggling with. Do not isolate yourself, but become accountable to others.

Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 5

May 4, 2020


Exalt her (wisdom), and she (wisdom) will promote you; She (wisdom) will bring you honor, when you embrace her (wisdom).  Proverbs 4:8

Have you ever wanted a promotion?  Maybe at work, a position of authority or social standing of some kind?  Today’s verse teaches that promotion is found in the wisdom of God.  Proverbs says promotion is found in pursuing wisdom, not in your connections, not in your education and not in kissing up to the boss.  The way to promotion is simply going after God’s wisdom and keeping your sights on it.   A pursuit of wisdom rather than the promotions is where success is found.

A couple of examples of wisdom bringing promotion in the bible that come to my mind are Joseph and Daniel.  Joseph never sought out promotion, though it followed him wherever he went.  He did, however, have a good attitude despite all the negative circumstances surrounding him.  He simple maintained his core beliefs and displayed them through his attitude.  Even though at one point, he was put into prison for not caving under the pressure of his outward circumstance, he just continued displaying the wisdom of God.  Through his consistent posture of wisdom, he was promoted into the top leader of the entire country.

Daniel also had plenty of opportunities for a bad attitude, but he chose to walk in wisdom by holding to the things that had been put in his heart at a very young age, the wisdom of God.  He was taken away from his home into captivity as a young man and more than likely the rest of his family was slaughtered in the siege of Jerusalem.  As soon as he was in his new living quarters, he immediately had the favor with those in charge.  So much so that he was given an audience with the king when the command was given to kill all the wise men and advisors.  Daniel prayed in chapter 2 and thanked God for giving him wisdom. (Daniel 2:23) “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”  Daniel also pursued wisdom continually and was promoted to the top of the country.  Second only to the king.

Lastly, James 4:10 says, Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Humility is one of the attitudes of wisdom that was discussed yesterday.  When you humble yourself to the wisdom of God, He will promote you and lift you up.

Today I want to encourage you to pursues wisdom.  Look to the wisdom of God to take you through everything you come up against in life.  Verse 23 of this chapter in Proverbs tells us that all the issues of life are within our heart so we should keep our heart with the wisdom of God!  Take on the attitudes and heart that wisdom exhibits.  Study them, pursue them and the favor of God and people will follow you all of your days of wisdom.

Today’s scripture reading:  Proverbs 4

May 3,2020


Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.  Proverbs 3:3-4

As I read over this chapter in Proverbs, a recurring theme of attitude jumped out at me.  The truly amazing part to me is that even though this book was written centuries, even millennia ago, it is still relevant and true in today’s world.  Our attitudes determine where we are in life and our quality of life.  You could be the wealthiest person in the world, but with the wrong heart and attitude be the most miserable.  In contrast, you could be the poorest person in the financial world, but have the most joy simply because of your outlook in life.

Below is a list of attitudes that are pointed out in this proverb and the benefits that come as a result of the attitude.  As you read each one consider where your attitude is and also if the results are evident in your everyday life.  Also consider areas where you can improve because there is always room for improvement.

Verse 1 – An attitude of obedience/submission Verse 2 – the result = many years of peace and prosperity.

Verse 3 – An attitude of compassion and honesty Verse 4 – the result = A good reputation and favor with God and man

Verse 5 – An attitude of trusting the LORD Verse 6 – the result = be on God’s plan and path for your life

Verse 7 – An attitude of humility, not pride Verse 8 – the result = healthy flesh and strong bones

Verse 9 – An attitude of honoring God Verse 10 – the results = plenty and abundance of resources

Verse 11 – A teachable attitude Verse 12-16 – the result = happy, understanding, long life, honored, pleasantness

Verse 21 – An attitude of discretion Verse 22 – the result = grace, safety, no fear, sweet sleep

Verse 27-31 – An attitude of giving Verse 32-33 – the result = receive God’s secret counsel and a blessed home

Going through this list reminded me of how God’s Word is so timeless. Although these attitudes are not popular in today’s society, they will always produce true success.  These are the God’s attitudes and although this is not a complete list, God’s heart and attitude  are what makes us different from the rest of the world.  We have the answers that can be clearly seen in our attitude. 

Today I want to encourage you to live by the attitudes in this chapter and the whole book for that matter.  Obedience, submission, compassion, honesty, trust, humility, honor, be teachable, discretion and giving.  Your success in life depends on them.  As you line up your heart and life with these attributes, you will notice a change in those around you.  The negative influence of the world will lose its pull on you because you have made the decision to live your life in the success of God’s attitudes and ways.  Your influence with those around you will become stronger and before you know it you will be helping others to find success in adjusting their attitude too.

Today’s scripture reading:  Proverbs 3

May 2, 2020

                                          Hidden treasure

. . . and if you look for it (wisdom) as for silver and search for it (wisdom) as for hidden treasure,  Proverbs 2:4

This verse in Proverbs 2 reminds me of an old movie where a group of people have gone on a quest away from their normal day to day activity to look for a great treasure.  You can pick which movie comes to your mind.  Of course, there are countless stories, books and shows that the plot involves seeking “great treasure”.  In fact, it doesn’t even have to be fiction.  This is what people of the world are mostly about.  I think we all would love to find a buried treasure, so we didn’t have to live our life in the “normal” routine. 

Today’s scripture suggests that finding wisdom is like finding hidden treasure.  In fact, it says to look for it and seek it continuously.  The truth is that if you learn to live your life by the wisdom of God, it would be like your life was sustained out of a hidden treasure.  Wisdom brings the untouchable treasures into this physical world.  Things such as peace, insight, grace and faith.  These things are priceless and worth every effort to secure in your everyday walk.  They can all be attained simply by pursuing wisdom, God’s wisdom.

So, what is wisdom?  Wisdom defined in the Biblical sense, is the “ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.  However, there is so much more to it.  Wisdom is knowing the right steps to take at the right time.  This kind of wisdom comes by following the leading of the Holy Spirit of God on a daily basis.  It is not something you can learn by taking classes or earning a prestigious degree.  You cannot receive it at the school of hard knocks, and it is not even something that can be passed down through the generations. (although the Word of God can be)  Wisdom is gained by walking step by step, day by day in a personal relationship with your heavenly Father.  Wisdom is a benefit of your salvation in Christ Jesus, but it does not come automatically.  This is the reason today’s scripture tells us to be search for it. 

James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  By asking for wisdom each day as you surrender your steps to the LORD, wisdom will flow right from His Spirit to yours.  Later on, in this same chapter of Proverbs, it says, wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. (Proverbs 2:10-11) Again as pointed out yesterday, wisdom guards and protects you.

Today I want to encourage you to pursue wisdom with all your heart.  Go after it like a hidden treasure.  Ask your Heavenly Father and listen to that inward witness, but also pursue His Holy Word.  This is the best place to start.  God will never contradicts His Word, so as He guides you through His Spirit, he will back that wisdom with His eternal Word.  Be like those in the movies who step away from your day to day activity and pursue the hidden treasure of wisdom.  Spend time with God today and discover great treasure in His wisdom.

Today’s scripture reading:  Proverbs 2

May 1, 2020

. . . but whoever listens to me (wisdom) will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. Proverbs 1:33

The book of proverbs.  It is one of the five books of wisdom.  If there is anything in life that you need answers to or wisdom for, undoubtedly your answer is in this book somewhere.  In fact, there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, so if you read one per day, you will read through the entire book in one month and then start all over the next month.  The wisdom is endless. 

I find today’s verse fitting for the day we live in right now.  These days, there is fear all around us and although we hope nothing bad will come near our home or our family, do we have a guarantee?  This scripture says we do.  It says whoever.  That starts out talking to anyone.  It doesn’t matter who you are, you are a whoever.  So, anyone who listens to wisdom, that is the wisdom of God and His Word, will live in safety and not only that, they will live at ease, far from fear and oppression.  In fact, the next part of the verse says without fear of being harmed.  These are not just pleasant words or a nice passing saying, this is a promise from the Holy Spirit of God, Wisdom Himself!  You can depend on wisdom if you listen and live by it, you will be safe.  I don’t know about you, but that is a promise I am ready to release into my life.  No more wishing and hoping that pending danger will pass, I can know for sure that if I listen to and follow God’s wisdom, He will keep me safe.

Today I want to encourage you to seek and listen to the Wisdom of God.  In fact, this month of May I am going to select one verse from the Proverb of the day.  We will learn from God’s wisdom and be safe together.

Today’s scripture reading:  Proverbs 1

April 30, 2020

Then King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”  Daniel 3:25

Today’s scripture is taken from the account in the book of Daniel when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a furnace to be burned to death because they refused to worship the gods of Babylon.  A story many of us heard as children and how God showed up in the fire with them and kept them from being harmed.  Of course, the king of Babylon was astonished and quickly amended his law to make provision for the God of the Hebrew men.

What I want to point out today is that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not even consider options in the command given by the king.  When they were summoned to come before the king, they boldly declared their confidence in God to rescue them from whatever sentence they were given.  We know the rest of the story that God did show up and protected them through the fire.  Here is the interesting part.  God didn’t step in and keep them from going into the fire, they still had to go through it.  However, He went through the fire with them. He freed them from their bonds and protected them.  So much so that they didn’t even smell like fire when they were called out.

You can have the same confidence in God today.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Our God is able to deliver us from any circumstance, crisis or “fire” and He will.  The secret is in what you believe.  Do you believe that God is not only able, but that He will show up and walk through the fire with you and bring you out unsinged?  Do you believe that He wants to protect you every step of the way? Or do you believe that He can, but you just never know what God will do?  The truth is that you can know what God will do and what He will do is be faithful to His promises.  He has given us an entire book full of His faithfulness and promises.  You can depend on Him to always come through for you when you trust and call on Him!  If anyone is “missing it” in the problem, you can be sure it isn’t God. Dig deep and press in until you are full of the same confidence that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had and believe God will bring you to victory through every “fire”.

Today I want to encourage you to look for God to show up in your “fire”.  In this current world crisis, have confidence in God to walk with you through this pandemic, strengthening and protecting you.  Then, let the world see that no matter what is going on around you, God is with you and He stays with you right in the middle of all fiery circumstances and brings you out to victory.

Today’s scripture reading: Daniel 3

April 29, 2020

A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!”  Proverbs 26:13

Today’s scripture starts out by talking about a lazy person that uses outside conditions as an excuse not to go out into the world today.  He says, there is a ”lion” outside, an obstruction of some kind that is keeping him from living out the plan for his life.  I thought of this verse recently in connection with fear.  Our current circumstances have given light to those who would use every outside evil as an excuse not to do anymore that necessary in life.  I’m not saying that we don’t have a real crisis going on in our entire world right now. Certainly, these are fierce times!  What I am saying is that there are alternate ways to accomplish things even in the middle of a pandemic.  This is when we draw from our creative side!

Here’s the thing:  There’s always going to be a “lion” out there.  1 Peter 5:8 says, always be on the lookout because your adversary the devil is continuously out there like a roaring lion, looking for anyone that he can destroy.  However, the very next verse gives us the solution to this concern.  It says to resist and stand against him steadfastly in our faith, knowing that we all have to stand against him everyday no matter what we have going on.  This verse also implies that we are to help each other stand against and move forward in life.  No matter what we are up against each day, we must keep moving forward in the plan of God.  We cannot sit back and be idle because of daily circumstances and obstacles.  Now is when we remember that God’s Kingdom rules overall including that “lion”.  God’s grace gives us what we need, when we need it.  So whether it’s a “lion”, a sickness or fear of the unknown, we need to seek direction and an overcoming way to walk when the obstacles present themselves.  On the other side of that, reach out to help others who you see are stuck or paralyzed by the threat of the “lion”. 

Today I want to encourage you not to let the fear of what is to come stop you in your daily walk with God.  Be willing to walk out His plan each day no matter what is waiting for you out there.  He will get you through.  The truth is, God knows there is a “lion” out there, and He has equipped you to overcome those “lions” as you get the plan and use the weapons of warfare that He has provided.  Then, come along side others who are stagnant in their walk or maybe even just starting to walk out God’s plan in their life.  Don’t watch those that are easy prey be devoured by the enemy, hurry in to rescue and to help them stand against the enemy of fear, anxiety and even apathy.  Let’s all take the next step today and push that lion out of town!

Today’s scripture reading: 1 Peter 5

Today’s dose

“The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.”Psalms 103:19

Psalms 103 is one of the psalms that I frequently recite to myself to encourage and build myself up.  As I was quoting it the other day, something clicked on the inside of me when I got toward the end at verse 19.  God has established His throne and His Kingdom rules over all!  All of a sudden it dawned on me that no matter what “kingdom” has been established in the world whether foreign, national or local, God’s Kingdom supersedes them all.  I know this is common knowledge and that we all know it, however, the revelation of it became so crystal clear to me in light of our current circumstances.  So from a legal standpoint, God instituted laws from the beginning of creation.  Ordinances such a marriage, family, and government.  Those are the laws that work anywhere in this world today.  From a spiritual aspect, He set up spiritual order that works in the spirit world.  From the eternal perspective, He set up eternal decrees that will be in effect for all eternity.

So to bring this revelation into a practical application. God’s ways rule over the entire world, however, we are the ones that are responsible to get in line with them.  So as an American, I have rights and responsibilities.  Things such as freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, etc.  As long as I obey the laws of the land, I am entitled to these rights.  Likewise, in the Kingdom of Heaven, when I get in line with God’s Kingdom principles and laws, I can expect to receive the benefits/blessings of the kingdom.  The law book for the Kingdom of Heaven is the holy scripture.  The more I get to know that book, the more accurately I can function in His Kingdom.  In the same way I am responsible to uphold the laws of this land, America, I am responsible as a citizen of Heaven to uphold it’s laws.  I cannot say in America, that because I didn’t know that law, I cannot be cited for breaking it.  No, If I break the law whether I knew it was a law or not, I am responsible to uphold it.  It is the same in the Kingdom of heaven.  If I don’t know God’s ways, I cannot expect Him to change His ways to line up with the way I think His laws should work.  I must learn the ways of His Kingdom since I am a citizen there.

In today’s scripture reading of Deuteronomy 28, God lays out the blessings that come as a result of following the laws that He established in His Kingdom. He also reveals the curse that results from following your own way or the world’s “kingdom”. Because we do live in this fallen world, we see the results of the curse all around us and new things emerging every day. However, we do not have to submit to those things. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom and His Kingdom laws overrule the worlds every time we enforce them.

Today I want to encourage you to submit to the Kingdom of heaven.  Begin to study God’s Kingdom ways and begin to line your life up with them. Make a note while reading scripture when you see God’s laws and the resulting blessing. Also, keep note of the world’s ways and the resulting curse. Make sure you are knowing as much of His Kingdom principles as possible because you are responsible to live by them. Not only that, your blessed life is the outcome.

Today’s scripture reading:  Deuteronomy 28:1-51