August 25 / Proverbs 25 / Luke 12

tabloids

Proverbs 25:7c-8

That which your eyes see, don’t be quick to bring out an accusation, lest what will you do in the future, when your neighbor humiliates you?

As Christ followers, we should never be quick to accuse.

I’ve made this mistake so many freakin’ times it makes me sick.

My goal has been to not judge at all, one nanometer, until I have talked face to face with the person to judge. Even then, I’m not suppose to judge per se, but can make a wise choice or discernment if needed.

I’ve thought for a while how our media culture breeds us to be judgmental of people we don’t know, or who we have never met. It ranges from the ridiculous of how bad someone looks on the beach to “look who got caught drinking and driving.”

I’m trying to coach our daughters against this fruitless endeavor-making judgments upon people we’ve never met. What is the point? What good comes of it? I guess we can use examples of what not to do whenever we witness a life gone awry, a life lived against God’s principles. But we don’t need to condemn anybody to do that do we? There’s no possible way we can know the billions of factors that have contributed to the person’s present moment right in front of us now.  We can love someone while at the same time coach our children to not make their same bad choices, to learn from others’ mistakes whenever you can.

May we be characterized as people who do not accuse, judge, or condemn, but who love, hope, forgive, and give the benefit of the doubt. Isn’t that much more powerful than the world’s alternative? Does love not cover a multitude of sins???

judge not

Luke 12:21

Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.

A rich relationship with God.

You have nothing better to spend your time and energy on.

August 24 / Proverbs 24 / Luke 11

Cat-With-Rubiks-Cube-600x350

Proverbs 24:10

It is through the hard things in life in which we grow.

It is how we grow.

It just is.

“Do Hard Things” one book title tells us.

Avoiding hard things is avoiding growth into a more mature person.

“Accept the universe” as some have put it.

When you hide from the hard things, you are not strengthened, but rather linger in a state of perpetual weakness. Stopping a few reps short in the weight room “because it hurrrrts” (say in a whiny voice) gets you nowhere near beast mode strength.

It is the pushing through the pain, it is those extra few reps, that actually do the work required for growth.

Luke 11:36

The pure in heart, truly seeking God will be illumined by His light. I believe you can even be seeking in the wrong place, but if you are sincerely seeking truth, seeking the mystery that is God with a completely open heart, He will reveal Himself to you.

Be single-mindedly focused.

Allow His light into every part of your life.

Don’t withhold any parts to be kept in darkness. There is freedom in the whole self being exposed to the light.

August 23 / Proverbs 23 / Luke 10

i_m_not_listening

Proverbs 23:9

Don’t speak in the ears of fools; they will only ignore your wise words.

The wisest words will just bounce off the ears of fools, and many times will even bring on their hostility. Foolish people are set against wisdom, especially if that wisdom involves any kind of critique against their behavior.

At the same time, I believe we have a duty to present truth in love and in a way in which we have prayed and thought will influence the person in an authentic way. Yet in this, we do not put pressure on ourselves, but trust the Holy Spirit, not taking ourselves too seriously. If a person is closed off to truth, I’m not sure there is a way we can present it in which they will listen to it.

Remember Paul’s words that they did not present the gospel in eloquence and wise words, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. For me, how I present is more a check against myself to see if I am giving God’s truth in love or not. But the Holy Spirit can and will use whatever however whenever.

Proverbs 23:20-21

Don’t drink too much.

Don’t eat too much.

Don’t be crapulous!

Those who drink and eat too much become poor. It promotes a lethargy in you that will war against any productivity. It clouds your thinking warring against remaining sharp.

Jesus showed us so well to obey God, not your physical desires.

Luke 10:25-37

“Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”

Love God with every fiber of your being.

Love people in the manner of the parable of the good Samaritan, which I take as “Do whatever good you can to the person who is right in front of you.”

Do that and you will live.

If we truly loved God and the people He made, we would automatically obey every commandment in the Bible.

Do everything you agree to, and bring no harm upon anyone.

 

August 22 / Proverbs 22 / Luke 9

pray

Proverbs 22:11

Those who love a pure heart–their words are gracious; the king is their friend.

It all begins with a pure heart. If one’s core personality is not oriented in the proper way, then the rest will not follow. But those who do have a pure heart will speak gracious words, because words are the reflection of the heart. The result is positive. Such people have the king as a friend, and it is always good to have friends in high places.

-Tremper Longman III

Luke 9:18,28

Jesus was praying alone.

Jesus went up a mountain to pray.

Jesus took special time to pray. To do nothing but pray. Which is to commune with our Father in conversational interaction.

We should pray–> a LOT.

“Without ceasing,” someone once wrote.

It is good to set aside time to pray alone and in the quiet. To simply converse with God in a focused manner. This is so richly life-giving, and I believe many Christians miss out on the soul-blessing that this simple, centuries-proven practice provides. We are losing the ability as a society to focus in on one thing at a time. Yet even science tells us that our brains thrive and are in a state of optimal rest only when we are singularly focused.

Perhaps you don’t know what you’re missing. I can’t think of a time I walked away from focused prayer without peace, without the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders, taken by the only One who is capable of handling such a burden.

It is good to pray throughout the day and on the go, don’t get me wrong, but is that enough, really? Is that enough to experience the deep connection we were all made for?

Is it enough for your spouse or closest friend to only talk in passing while doing something else at the same time?

Luke 9:35

“This is my Son, my chosen One: listen to Him.”

If anyone could ever say, “I’m kind of a big deal” it was Jesus of Nazareth.

Everything Jesus said was absolute truth, whether we like it or not. He is who YHWH chose to reveal Himself thru in human form. Jesus showed us in the form of a human being what our Creator is like. Get to know Jesus, you get to know God, because He and the Father are one.

You will do yourself a huge blessing to form new habits of thought>>

To think of Jesus at least one second out of every minute of the day, or something similar. Just the attempt is a blessing…

 

August 21 / Proverbs 21 / Luke 8

Punisher-970-80

Proverbs 21:12

This is probably why The Punisher was always my favorite comic book character.
Proverbs 21:30
There is no wisdom, understanding, or advice
that can succeed against the LORD.

Luke 8:16-18
Hearing the word of God and not receiving it, not acting on it, is pointless. Much like a lamp for light being covered. It’s purpose is to give light.
Being touched by the Spirit, you will bear fruit of it.
You will shine forth God to others and they will be affected by it.
“Consider carefully how you listen.”
“Receptive and obedient listening will lead to increased understanding, but rejection of the truth will lead to increased incomprehension of the word of God.”

 

August 20 / Proverbs 20 / Luke 7

deep water4

Proverbs 20:3

The glory of a person is to back away from an accusation, but every stupid person let’s it break out.

The humility of the  wise person and the pride of the stupid person is their respective motivation for their actions.

Proverbs 20:5

Advice is deep waters in the heart of a person, but those who understand draw it out.

Good advice includes thoughts that are profound and perhaps mysterious, requiring reflection and interpretation to fully understand and apply.

This is certainly true in the case of Jesus.

Proverbs 20:19

Slanderers go about revealing secrets, so do not associate with those who are foolish with their lips.

Luke 7:2-10

Healing the centurion’s slave.

JesusAndCenturian

Here we see Jesus do good to one who is of the despised occupying army. Real faith can come from anyone, not just those “in the club.”

This is a good reminder that we cannot tame God. He is who He is and will do what He will do. I want to worship Him for who He is, not for what I want Him to be or make Him out to be.

We do not create God in our image. We let Him be God and take our rightful place bowing before His throne. He is good, so we have nothing to fear, yet He is wholly other and therefore a mystery that causes trembling awe.

Worship Him in spirit and in truth.

I AM HOW MUCH I LOVE

heart in sky--VIVID

This morning, I kept having the thought that, “I am how much I love.”

 For a while now, I’ve reflected on what makes a someone a good person, and I feel strongly that it is proportional to the measure of love in one’s heart for God and for all people, and then living a life of a servant, a life of love.
It seems to me that it is like a good God to make the only requirement in life something that all 7 billion people on the planet are capable of–LOVE.
Not everyone can read.
Not everyone can walk.
Not everyone can do long division in their head.
Not everyone can bench press 300.
Not everyone can have children.
Not everyone can be physically beautiful.
But EVERYONE can love God and others.
And everyone CAN live out of that love.
But oh how we enjoy taking that list above, along with a thousand other categories, and parsing everyone out according to it, when the only category that truly matters is the amount of love someone has in their heart, and guess what–>>no one but God can really know someone’s heart (I Sam.16:7).
The more we focus on, and therefore expend energy toward, loving God and people from the depths and sincerity of our innermost, honest core, and being FOR them, the less room and even desire we will have leftover to judge, categorize, critique, and condemn them.
What’s interesting to me is that I looked back to see what I wrote one year ago today,
and it was pretty much the same thing, the same thoughts.
So I figured this was something that is important for today and will also share from last year’s thoughts:
Who am I?
 
What defines me?
 
It is how much of God is flowing through me…
 
It is NOT my body
It is NOT my vocation
It is NOT my family
It is NOT my culture
It is NOT my beliefs
It is NOT my sense of humor
It is NOT even my role, as father or husband [?] Really?
 
What defines me is my Maker.
The Source of my life.
And that is Love….
 
So love defines me?
 
How much of the Divine’s love flows through me..
 
We were begun/initiated into being by ultimate, unconditional Love
 
To love. To be loved, by Him.
 
PERFECTLY
 
The Creator sets the parameters of His/Her creation…designates the purpose of what He/She has brought into existence.
 
Find that. You find who you are. Who you really are.
 
If He creates us out of love, to be in loving relationship with Him, then this is how
we were designed to optimally function and live.
 
To see all people as precious children of His, equal in worth to me,
with the same needs and wants in life as mine…worthy of my respect…
 
God and His love pervade the aforementioned non-identities to the degree of my surrender
and removal of obstructions to it.
 
So I am still me, with a unique personality, but more me…the True Me, as God intended >
A God-reflecting Me.

 

August 19 / Proverbs 19 / Luke 6

blame

Proverbs 19:3

People’s own foolishness ruins their lives, but in their minds they blame the Lord.

Or blame everyone else.

Blame blame blame. It’s always someone else’s fault.

When has blame ever been efficacious in your life?

You just don’t hear this story>>> “Yeah, when I started blaming everyone for my problems
I really started to heal. Blame was probably the big turn around for me. When I finally
learned to blame others for my issues, that’s when I climbed out of my hole and lived whole.”

Luke 6:24-26
“What sorrow awaits you who are rich,
    for you have your only happiness now.
 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,
    for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,
    for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
    for their ancestors also praised false prophets.”
“Jesus’s point is that these people derive all their satisfaction from this world. They feel no need of God, nor do they look forward to His future kingdom. This world is their heaven.
Jesus pronounces a woe on such self-satisfied, prosperous, and smug people because a day is coming when fortunes will be reversed.”
-from The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary

Luke 6:40
Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.
When the Holy Spirit is your teacher, you have no limit.
Their are many guides and catalysts here on earth, but if you look totally to them, they will be your limit.
That’s as far as you will attain.
The end is always the Holy Spirit, is always Christ.
Try maxing Him out.

 

 

August 18 / Proverbs 18 / Luke 5

wine

Proverbs 18:2,13

Fools do not want to understand anything. They only want to tell others what they think.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Seek to know why someone is asking something before just firing off an answer. It is imperative you know what someone means by what they’re saying before attempting to answer. We now live in a reality where most of the words we use can each mean a thousand different things. I guess 7 billion people and the social media vacuousness that pervades us will do that.

Jesus answered questions with invitations to go deeper. Rarely, if ever, is it ever recorded that He just straight up answered the question asked. This demonstrates how much He cared for the inquiring person, how tuned in He was to the heart. He did not fall into the cheap and not-so-helpful rattling off of an answer to show His knowledge or superiority.

Proverbs 18:19

A brother who has been insulted is harder to win back than a walled city, and arguments separate people like the barred gates of a palace.

Be patient and gentle, for one word of judgement or criticism can undermine everything you say to someone.

Once a person feels judgement or condescension, they typically shut down and stop listening to you. Or it’s possible they literally cannot hear anything else you say at that point because of the relational circuits of the brain being disengaged and shut off.

So begin with the end in mind. What do you really want from the conversation? If you want goodness and reconciliation, you will speak to them as a person on your same level, not as someone beneath you (with contempt).

Luke 5:39

No one after drinking old wine wants new wine, because he says, “The old wine is better.”

Watch that you are not holding on to traditions simply because you prefer them. Be open to the truth of the living God.

Test everything to see that it is His truth and not the mere tradition of men.

“This is the way we’ve always done it.”

God is not boring. In my experience, God is not the same ole thing over and over again. He is exciting and new all the time, ever greater, every moment.

August 17 / Proverbs 17 / Luke 4

heart refiners fire

Proverbs 17:3

A crucible refines silver and a furnace  gold, but the LORD refines hearts.

Perhaps our trials and sufferings are just the means to purify our hearts. Burn off all that does not lead to God. Melt away anything that is a distraction to our thoughts of God and on what is good and right.

What if we looked at every trial of life big or small as God’s loving action to bring us closer to Himself? What would that do to our thinking? To our mindset?

Accept and embrace what is instead of fighting and trying to simply alleviate pain. It’s been said that we will make little effort to attain pleasure, but we will do almost anything to avoid pain. Tho it does  seem that we go to great lengths to gain pleasure at times, I wonder how often the pleasure-seeking is actually just a means to avoid pain?

What if we accepted everything that came our way as something to learn from and make us more like Him? As opposed to just stewing about how much we don’t like it…

Luke 4:10-12

“For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order His angels to protect and guard you and they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You shall not test the LORD your God.'”

The most effective temptations will have a good portion of truth attached to them. Here, Satan quotes from Psalm 91.

Remember to always look at the big picture, God’s whole story, all of Scripture, not just isolated bits and pieces.

How deep is the mind and mystery of God. How foolish we can be at times to think one verse of the Bible can describe Him or what He is up to. One verse, because it is from God, has great power, can cause Satan to flee, and can give immense comfort, but it must always point to the ineffable greatness of God and that He may be up to a  million things at any given moment that we cannot know or comprehend.