July 5 / Proverbs 5 / Matthew 5


Proverbs 5

Here is the key concept we must understand, and it applies to all of life: the gospel calls us into both form and freedom, both structure and liberation.

Sex is like fire. In the fireplace it keeps us warm. Outside the fireplace it burns the house down.

-Robert C. Ortlund, Jr.

Matthew 5:19

Whoever refuses to obey any command and teaches other people not to obey that command will be the least important in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys the commands and teaches other people to obey them will be great in the kingdom of heaven.

Your life is a teacher, an instructor to others that carries much more weight than your words.

However, if your life reflects God, your few words will matter greatly.

By holding on to a sin, by coddling a vice, you automatically teach others to do the same.

The preacher who speaks condescendingly toward his wife or displays anger at other drivers teaches his flock to also do this, despite what he may say on Sunday.

Love God with all your heart. Love all people. And you will be teaching others to do likewise without having to open your mouth. Every command falls under this.

July 4 / Proverbs 4 / Matthew 4


Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to the devil, “Go away from me, Satan! It is written in the Scriptures, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'”

If only I would do this every time I am tempted, discouraged, or start to doubt. Tell Satan to get the hell out of here, then recite Scripture.

I’d be better off.

I will be better off.

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Change your hearts and lives, because the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Anything that hinders or offends one’s relationship with the Father is to be parted with.

Proverbs 4:1-9

In the Old Testament, the priests taught the law of God, and the prophets declared the word of God (Jer. 18:18). But the fathers and mothers gave their children the wisdom of God (Prov. 1:8; 6:20). Their tone is urgent: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom” (4:7). The strong expressions “hold fast,” “keep,” “get,” “love,” “prize,” and “embrace” set the tone of the section. We grow wise not by brains but by bold decisiveness. Do we want the mind of God, ultimately revealed in Christ? We may, we must, receive his wisdom through the gospel. Getting it will cost us, but not getting it would cost us infinitely more (Matt. 13:44–46).

from The Gospel Transformation Bible

We grow wise not by brains but by bold decisiveness.

I finished reading Tribes by Seth Godin this week, and in it he writes that in all his experience he has found that leaders have only one thing in common–the decision to lead. Within the sea of seemingly infinite diverse personalities, physicality’s, histories, and handicaps, the one thing they all shared was the decision to lead. In fact, that’s the only thing they really shared. This is what makes a leader.


Godin says that one is not a leader because he or she is charismatic, but one is charismatic because he or she has decided to be a leader. We get this backwards.

We make so many excuses.

This observation takes excuses off the table.

If you’re not living abundantly in Christ, there is no one else to blame. The reason is because of your own decision not to.

Shalom is always available.


Will you choose it?

Are you providing a welcoming home for peace?

What is your decision?

Proverbs 4:20-27

We make progress toward wisdom by staying intensely focused: “Let your eyes look directly forward” (v. 25). Many distractions in this world would draw us away. How can we remain loyal to God through it all? “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (v. 23). Jesus may have been thinking of verse 23b inJohn 7:38: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” True life does not flow into us from external circumstances; true life flows out of us from the internal fullness of the Holy Spirit.

from The Gospel Transformation Bible

True life does not flow into us from external circumstances; true life flows out of us from the internal fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Fill yourself with God everyday, every hour, every minute. What else is there? This life is our training for the fully realized, inevitably approaching kingdom of God. In His kingdom, the only way to live that makes any sense at all is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and live according to God’s precepts. All else causes rupture and dis-integration because it goes against design, against peace.

July 1-3 / Proverbs 1-3 / Matthew 1-3


Proverbs 1

Heed good advice, counsel, and wisdom before things go really south, before it’s too late, before you paint yourself into a corner where the choice is made for you.

Is there something you’ve been hearing for a while that you’ve put off acting upon? Has someone, or multiple someones, been warning you about anything? Is there a theme that keeps recurring in your life that you need to pay attention to? Something you’ve heard many times that you ignore?

Choose wisdom while you have a choice!

Proverbs 2:7

He stores up resourcefulness for those with integrity–a shield for those who walk in innocence…

Though none of us are without sin, there are those people whose lives are marked largely by ethical rightness and legal obedience. These are the “innocent” spoken of in Proverbs who are closely related to “the wise.”

For these people, God provides resourcefulness. I like this definition for resourcefulness: “An inner power that helps one escape a fix.” Now we can see why it may be compared to a shield in this verse. It protects one from the vicissitudes in life. If (when) problems arise, the recipient of God’s wisdom will have the wherewithal to deal with it. This resourcefulness indeed shields and protects those who possess it.

Proverbs 3:11-12

Don’t get angry when God corrects you. This is a sign that He delights in you! He cares!
Be thankful for His corrections. Seriously, actually tell Him thank You. See what happens inside of you.

Matthew 1:1

Matthew presents Jesus as the Jewish Messiah who fulfilled Israel’s prophecies, completing her story.

He is the Son of David [Israel’s greatest king] and Son of Abraham [father of the Jewish nation].

So Matthew is clear that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah since the Messiah was to come through the line of David. That Jesus was a Son of David is all over the NT. It is not ambiguous about who Jesus is.

Also of note, in Genesis genealogies were named for the first person cited, but Matthew names his genealogy for the person in whom it climaxes, Jesus Christ. In Genesis, descendants were dependent on their ancestors for their historical significance. In Matthew, Jesus’ ancestors are dependent on Him for their historical significance.

Matthew 2:1-12

It is interesting that pagan stargazers were more in tune with what God was doing through Jesus than Jewish insiders who were anticipating His coming.

Matthew 2:23

Out of the stump of the line of Jesse will grow shoot–yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.

Our Savior was called a Nazarene…He was from the tiny (about 60 acres, just 200-500 people) hick town of Nazareth. Hick (John 1:46) because it’s thought that Nazarenes were rather unrefined and disrespected due to their unpolished dialect, a lack of culture, and quite possibly a measure of irreligion and moral laxity. This is where Jesus grew up. How perfect is that?

Nazareth is not even mentioned in the Old Testament, by the historian Josephus, or in Rabbinic literature (Talmud), so it was doubted that it even really existed until an archaeological discovery in 1962.

Also of interest, many scholars believe that Matthew was referring to Isaiah 11:1 as far as prophecy being fulfilled; Nazarene being a play on the Hebrew word netzer meaning “branch” or “shoot” from Jesse–King David’s dad.

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of its roots.

Matthew 3:1-3

The way to prepare your heart for the Lord is to change your thinking. Think about your thinking. Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to.

Receiving Jesus goes with a turning away from all that competes with Him.

Metanoia is the word we translate as “repent.” It means to go the opposite way from your old thinking.
This is not necessarily quick and easy, but then again, nothing great comes without great effort. Do you think it’s worth it to have new thinking? Abundance thinking? Hopeful, positive thinking as opposed to pointless self-loathing and recycling of your old excrement?
The answer is yes. Yes it is much better. Therefore, yes, it is very worth the effort to train your mind (renew your mind) to think in the ways of the kingdom of God, the ways of agape. If you’d like to know how to literally renew your mind, I suggest Switch On Your Brain by Caroline Leaf.
We must not only forsake old, destructive ways of thinking, but run towards new, life-giving thinking which includes real hope in YHWH, that He is active in our daily lives, that He is FOR US, that He delights in us, likes us, and will always help us when we ask.
The tricky thing is, is that God is not to be manipulated like our genie in a bottle (or genie in a ba-ba, as I prefer). We think he should have everything the WAY we ask. This I have found not to be the case, tho there are times He answers just the way we ask because (perhaps) our request is so tuned in to His will. Instead of our Americanized Christianity way of thinking of we should get everything we want, the way of Christ for us is more RECOGNIZING what God is doing
rather than working toward getting Him to do what we want in our way. He is very much at work in your life everyday bringing you to Him. Do you recognize it? Are you looking? Are you listening?
Are you awake?
God is weird, as my soul blood brother Miguel Mesa tells us, and He seems to enjoy surprising us with something transcendent to our tiny requests.
I have found it much better, more shalom-giving, to ask Him for help, and stay totally open to how that help will come.
I am not disappointed.
For example, I start with what I know, and go from there. Or work from the lesser to the greater, you might say. Before and during conversations I pray for openings to share what is needed for the person. I don’t stress, just trust in the goodness of God, and that He wishes none to perish. I know He wants good for everyone, He wants everyone to come to Him. Then I listen carefully. God always opens up something in the conversation. Or He takes it a way I did not anticipate, yet in a way obviously from Him because of the peace it gives.
Pray with this confident openness in everything.
Trust in His goodness and care for you.
You will not be disappointed.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter.