October 21 / Proverbs 21 / Matthew 21


Proverbs 21:5

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

Don’t look for shortcuts.

Nothing great comes without great effort.  Prosperity doesn’t happen by itself.  You can maybe cut down the days it takes to become something (engineer, piano player, professor), but that’s only by increasing the hours/day put in.

Hard work. That’s what it takes.  That is one of the laws of the universe God put in place.

Death and resurrection.  That’s another one.  Die to one thing in order to rise to something else.

Yet there is one shortcut, isn’t there?


Jesus is the shortcut to God, to Life abundant and free.  He paid a price and did a work (great effort) that we cannot possibly do, nor do we need to do.  We cannot labor our way to God, make Him like us more, or obtain better scores with Him due to our performance–unless by performance we mean merely serving others and living in the delight of the Father.  The Bible is clear that we will be judged by our works, but nowhere do we see that we will be judged by the results of our works.

Aren’t the results up to God?

Isn’t He the Mighty One working thru us?

It appears we are do to good, flowing from our connection to Him, and then trust Him for the outcome>>>abandoning all outcomes to Him.

If we serve others out of love for God, sincerely, and love for others in a desire for their flourishing, do you think you will still be judged harshly if those we served did not end up choosing Life and doing well?  Is that really up to us?


Love God.

Serve God.

Trust God.

Matthew 21:18-22

Whatever you ask for in prayer, you’ll get it, if you believe.

If you believe.

If you believe.

If you believe.

If you believe.

If you believe.

I believe this.

Here is some helpful commentary from The Gospel Transformation Bible:

This teaching of Jesus on faith and prayer should be interpreted in terms of what he has already said on these topics in 17:14–20. There Jesus emphasized that the power of prayer lies not in the power of the believer but in the power of God. In addition, in 17:14–20 the context of Jesus’ teaching made clear that Jesus was talking about prayer for the accomplishment of God’s purposes, such as the defeat of the demonic world.

Here, then, when Jesus speaks of faith versus doubt, he also refers to trusting in the power of God, and the subject of the believer’s request in prayer is not just anything imaginable but something that furthers God’s purposes. Jesus’ example of ordering a mountain to throw itself into the sea uses hyperbole to illustrate colorfully how powerful God is (for other examples of how Jesus used hyperbole in his teaching, see note on 5:29–30).

Believers who pray unselfishly for the things they think will advance God’s merciful and saving purposes should also pray boldly. They should have faith that God will either do what they ask or will work in some other way that he knows will accomplish his purposes more perfectly (cf. 1 John 5:14–15).

October 20 / Proverbs 20 / Matthew 20


Proverbs 20:4

Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at harvest.

Nothing great comes without great effort.

This applies to the spiritual life as well.  If you are not doing the work it takes to get closer to God, to be conformed to the image of Christ, do not expect to wake up some morning automatically a mature man or woman of God and totally tuned in to Him and His every whisper.

You do not become intimately close to anyone without intentionality, including Jesus.

Part of intimacy is intense listening.  How else do you tune in to someone, or get to know them?  How else do you know and understand what they enjoy?

What does God want from you?

How do you know?

Belief without action does not transform you into greatness.  Believe and read about something all you want.  Without practice, you do not grow.  Without actually listening to the Master, you master nothing.

Matthew 20:26-28

Jesus did not come to earth in order to have servants to obey Him, but rather He came to serve others.  This is the upside-down kingdom path to true greatness.

Who do you serve?

Forcing people to obey you is tyrannical.  Many have this false impression of God.  But Jesus revealed what God is really like.  Serving all out of love even when they give you the finger–that is powerfully moving.  And can only be done when empowered by the Spirit, when brimming over with the indwelling love of YHWH spilling over on to others who hurt us.

The greatest in God’s kingdom is the one who serves the most.

October 19 / Proverbs 19 / Matthew 19


Proverbs 19:21

Make your plans the same as God’s plans and you will have the truest of success.  You will be working for what God already wants done.  How will you not succeed?

And what does He want?

Merely for people to come to Him, to love Him, to live closely with Him from the heart each and every moment.

How amazing that He chooses us to do some of His work.

I really like Tremper Longman’s interpretation and commentary on this verse:

Many plans are in people’s hearts, but the advice of Yahweh, that is what will succeed.

People have many strategies, but unless they follow the advice of God, they will not come to fruition.  This observation discourages the idea that human strategy can lead to success.  We must depend on God.

Matthew 19:29

Giving up anything for the sake of following Jesus is really no loss at all.  In fact, it is the hugest of gain.

You could say that the mathematics of God’s kingdom state that u-x will end up being equal to u+100x, where u is, well, you, and x is whatever you give up for Christ.

Makes no sense, I know, but that’s the beauty of our wonderful generous God and His upside down kingdom.

Holding on to stuff we really don’t need, now that’s loss.  Great loss.  And all we really need is God.  The rest is taken care of.  Seek Him first and we will be fed and clothed (Mt.6:33).

This is a promise.  This is absolute truth.

October 18 / Proverbs 18 / Matthew 18


Proverbs 18:9

A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.

Do not erroneously think there is no ripple effect by sitting around doing nothing.
By laziness, you still affect those around you, by withholding blessing, by a lack
of tangible demonstrations of God’s love.
We are “blessed to be a blessing” as they say…

Matthew 18:7
Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.
I’ll be honest, this verse scares me a little…in a good way.

Matthew 18:21-35
The anchor of unforgiveness.
If you have any bitterness, unforgiveness, or unresolved anything toward anyone, I strongly
urge you to let it go immediately. I can’t think of much that will hold you back spiritually
more than that of not forgiving someone.
Jesus speaks so plainly & strongly about this area. He knows the great barrier it creates to
intimacy with Him & effectiveness in our lives. Key to peace is forgiveness.
How we forgive, that is how we will be forgiven.


October 17 / Proverbs 17 / Matthew 17


Proverbs 17:19

Whoever loves to argue, loves to sin.

As Jesus followers, we are not to be ones to argue our theology, to argue what you are suppose to believe.

When did that ever change someone’s life for the better?

Loving someone, modeling the unconditional love of our Creator, now that has changed lives!  And it has done so thru the Ruach Elohim flowing thru us.  Don’t think for two seconds that you can be the unconditional love machine you were made to be on your own power alone.  You must be filling yourself with Christ via time with Him in conversation, adoration, and thinking of Him often, as well as the all-important practice of listening to Him.  Then you will be empowered with the supernatural capacity to love others without expectation.  You will be able to delight in others with no thought of return. That is agape love.*

And that is the love of Christ that transforms lives.

Everyone needs to be delighted in for who they are.

Jesus does. Jesus delights in people simply for who they are, simply because they were created in God’s image for God’s glory.

How are you helping others realize this?

*We all do have this in us already, but it must be tapped into if it is to truly flow out onto those around us and heal the nations. You have everything in you that you need to be pure awesomeness today. Will you pray it into the reality of your actual lived experience? The choice is yours alone. No one can decide for or against how you will live this day.

Matthew 17:20-21

If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you.

If you have just a grain of sincere faith in you, things will move.

I have experienced this.

Are we living way under our potential?  We have access to the power that raised Jesus from the dead.

Do we believe this???

Truly believing this moves people, ways of thought, obstacles.

Following Jesus is not merely about a better way of life, tho it includes that.  He has granted us power from on high.  Living into that truth, in real faith that God will do things is key and non-negotiable for this enactment of power to move things.

God’s love is unconditional, yes, but for Him to move in this way does seem to require our devotion and diligence in following Him. (Tho we never want to take away for a second His omnipotence and sovereignty!) Again, do we really believe this?  That He will move things, help us, actually, tangibly?  Surely the Christian life is not to be one of constant struggle with little to no power.


We believe it is to be a life of peace, release, victory, and freedom.

God has given us the ultimate power of free will and thought.  We can determine our own perception as well as much of our life, thanks to Him.  It’s as simple as a choice, followed up with diligent action following Him.

Try this.  Craft a simple “I am” statement and then pray it everyday in all sincerity and see what happens.  For example, “I am a joy-building father/friend/husband” or “I am totally free from ‘X'” or even “I am loved unconditionally at all times.”

This is real.

God wants our good and is ready and willing to grant us good things.

Now remember, this is not health and wealth stuff.  This is God’s will stuff–things we know He wants already, and we know better as we follow Him more closely( We believe, for example, that He wants all to follow Him and experience His peace).  Also, He will most likely not grant us things He has empowered us to do already, or He may answer with showing us the path to what we ask for.  For instance, I did not just pray for God to grant me a super huge butt.  I used my God-given potential to workout for many years to achieve that!

Thank you, Lord.

October 16 / Proverbs 16 / Matthew 16


Proverbs 16:2

All paths of people are pure in their own eyes, but Yahweh measures the motives.

The Lord examines your motives.

It’s not what we do as much as why we do it.

This is truth>>God looks at our hearts and our inner reasons for doing what we do.  You may think you are pure awesomeness, or awesome pureness, because you help the poor, or are involved in ministry, or lead a group,  but deep down you know you’re doing this for some sort of favor or approval, not out of love for Jesus.

We are already pure awesomeness, and for only one reason–Jesus Christ.  The great insane truth is that God loves you first. From the start. From before the start! And there’s nothing you can do about it. You can reject and distance yourself from Him relationally, but there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you less.  You can even grieve and sadden Him, but separate yourself from His love? Nope.  Jesus, we believe, has two stances>>open-armed, or embracing you.

God thinks you’re wonderful because He just does.  Because He is love and He’s crazy about you.  Living from that truth will wooingly compel you to get to know Him, love Him, live for Him, and obey Him.  You’ll realize the deeper, what-you’ve-been-missing Life that you’ve possibly never seen or experienced before.

We have been granted the power to create our own reality in a sense.  How we think, determines how we act, which over time, determines our character and destiny.

Again, if you’re obeying in order to earn, then you are off.  You’re missing the beautiful point.  The point is to live in the delight of the Father.

Matthew 16:17

You are blessed because my Father in heaven revealed this to you.  You did not learn this from human beings.

We do not need a human being to tell us truth, to show us God, tho that can and does happen.  In fact, how often have human beings messed up the truth and severely hurt people?

Here, Jesus asks, “Who do people say that I am?”  And they answer, “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, some other prophet.” What if He stopped there?  “Oh interesting.  That’s cool.  Well, see you guys tomorrow!”  How detrimental it would have been if He had not followed up with, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”  Yet how many times do we do this?  We’re content to let people form their view of Jesus based on so many others, without the uber important follow up of, “But what about you? Who do you think He is?”

Most people, in some form, answer that Jesus is “all those hypocrites in those churches” or He is “just like my dad.”  But never really seeking out from the Source who He is.

Think about this.


This makes about as much sense as saying Martin Luther King was a man of violence because you heard about a guy wearing an MLK t-shirt was arrested for shooting someone.  “No, I’ve never read any of Dr. King’s writings, but I don’t need to because I see what some of his supporters do.

My my my.

The Holy Spirit is ready and available to speak to every person directly. Thru your spirt in seeking Him, thru Scripture, thru nature…

How much you are willing to give up for something shows how much you value it.

How much effort are you putting into listening to God?

And if that worn out pushback of “I don’t have time” is surfacing yet again, remember that “I don’t have time for something” really just means “I value something else more.”

What do you value more than connecting to and hearing from God?

We promise you it is worth great effort.

October 15 / Proverbs 15 / Matthew 15

thorny path

Proverbs 15:10,12

The one who hates to be corrected will die.
Those who make fun of wisdom don’t like to be corrected;
they will not ask the wise for advice.
Pride can destroy you.
It keeps you from so much good.
It keeps you from seeking what is good because it is so sensitive to being infringed upon.
If pride can destroy the most beautiful of angels, it can surely destroy you.
Watch for it today at every turn.  Make yourself aware of it however you can, so you can expose it to the light of Jesus.
Or else…

Proverbs 15:19
A lazy person’s life is like a patch of thorns,
but an honest person’s life is like a smooth highway.
The path of the lazy is difficult to navigate and filled with pain.
Making the effort to pursue a virtuous life in many ways smooths out the path.  Being proactive proves to be a much better approach to life than always doing the bare minimum last minute thing.  Surely we can all attest, at some level, to some level of peace that proactivity brings.
Leaving the house to start your day, do you feel better after waking early, eating, planning out your schedule?  Or running out the door ten minutes later than you should, with breakfast in hand, wondering if you remembered everything you need for the day?

Proverbs 15:22-23
Plans fail without good advice,
but they succeed with the advice of many others.
People enjoy giving good advice.
Saying the right word at the right time is so pleasing.
Don’t allow your stupid pride to deny someone the rich blessing
of being of assistance to you. It is as much for them as it is for you.
Ask for help, be a blessing.

Proverbs 15:31-32
If you listen to correction to improve your life,
you will live among the wise.
Those who refuse correction hate themselves,
but those who accept correction gain understanding.

Matthew 15:6,18
You make God’s word null and void because of your tradition.  What comes out of the mouth begins in the heart, and that’s what makes someone unclean.
It is not merely the breaking of rules that makes someone separated from God, but rather it is our own heart and choice that separates us because of our God-given gift of free will.
Better to have a true heart of love for God that imperfectly breaks His rules than to keep perfectly the law with a heart that thinks said law keeping will make God love Him more.


October 14 / Proverbs 14 / Matthew 14


Proverbs 14:4

Not having an ox makes it very easy to keep the stall clean and neat. You don’t have to do the hard work of cleaning up its crap.

But guess what.

You’re starving to death because you have no ox power to farm with!

When you’re not close to anyone, when you don’t really let anyone in to the deep parts of your life, you can keep everything pretty neat and tidy looking.  But we all know you’re starving.  You’re dying to tell someone what you’re struggling with.  You ache to connect, to know you’re not alone, to know you’re not a total weirdo.

Well, we’re all weirdos. We all struggle with that “one big thing.”  Everyone has it…or you’re lying.  If it’s anything we’ve learned in ministry, it’s that every single person struggles with something, no matter how neat and tidy the barn looks.

So you’re not perfect.  So you don’t have it all together all the time.  Big smelly deal!  Oh wow, like you’re sooooooo unique.  You mean you struggle with something?  Well you weak and pathetic loser, I have conquered all sin and temptation in my life, so I cannot hang out with you or listen to your confessional nonsense.


One of the greatest things we can offer people as followers of Jesus, is to listen without judgement. To embrace someone in their embarrassment and shame.  To be fully known and fully accepted.  This is the love of Jesus.

So it’s about time you sucked it up and joined the Struggling Weirdos Club, because we’re all members and Jesus knows it already.  It’s just that some of us haven’t applied for our membership card yet.  But oh how liberating it is when you officially sign up!  Your struggles start to lessen.  You go longer in between dark times, you recover more quickly, because you are sharing it, exposing it to the light, receiving support, taking it to the true Source of power and love that conquers all.

Do you want neat and tidy?  Or messy and meaningful?

Matthew 14:29-30

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.  “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

When you look down, you drown.

Looking to Jesus for guidance, inspiration, direction, and strength, you will no doubt do great things.

No matter who you are.

We can accomplish anything in the power of the resurrection.

Looking at the obstacles at our feet, we trip and fall.  Energy flows where direction goes.  Whatever you focus on, you give power to over your life.  Focus on the obstacles in your life, and you empower them to block you more and more from true life.  Focus on Jesus more, and you allow His power more into your life and over all darkness.  All authority has been given to Him.

As someone said,

Stop telling God how big your problems are, and start telling your problems how big your God is!

October 13 / Proverbs 13 / Matthew 13


Proverbs 13:4

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

One obvious reason the lazy person is not filled, and the determined person is satisfied, is follow thru, or lack thereof.

A sluggard does not finish anything.  He starts many things perhaps, but with no fulfilling of any end goal.  But a determined, diligent person will see something thru to completion.  There is great satisfaction in that, even in the trivial.

Learning the cool parts of songs on guitar is fun, but taking the time to learn a complete song, beginning to end, to the point of playing it with others, in front of people, is extremely satisfying.  It is way more fulfilling than just knowing short parts to a bunch of songs.

Do you finish what you begin?

Do you see things thru to completion?

Do you start many things without following them thru to completion?

Do you have too many irons in the fire, dabbling in much, mastering nothing or very little?

How fulfilled do you think you would be if you spent the bulk of your energy on your relationship with Christ everyday?

Proverbs 13:19

A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.

One thing that will definitely keep you from a satisfying life is holding on to sin.

And we so hold on.  It has become a part of our very being, our daily functioning.  It is hard to let go.  But it only serves to inhibit us from abundant life, from knowing full fellowship with God thru Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps this is why John the Baptist’s message to repent was so vital in order to clear the way for Jesus and His kingdom.  He knew nothing could be fighting for your attention if you are going to live fully under God’s reign.

This is the pruning of John 15.  The gardner would cut away the part of the branch that was inhibiting the sap from getting all the way thru.  And it was not a cutting away from external things, but that which was internal growth.

This is painful.

But the freedom gained and experience of Life far outweigh the painful surgery.

Remember to keep your eyes always on what is gained, not upon that which will be lost.  Count the cost of both cutting something away as well as keeping something toxic in.

Matthew 13:44-46

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Jesus looks to stir His hearers to sacrifice whatever is necessary for treasure that is greater and beyond any here on earth.

A key word in this passage seems to be “found.”  When these peeps found this item of great value, they then acted upon it decisively.

You know when you have found something of great value.  You act upon it, typically without much hesitation or even reservation, proportionately to its value to you.  The more you value something, the more you are willing to give up for it. (Perhaps this is a better way of saying “Whatever something costs you is exactly what it is worth to you.”) Those who have truly found Christ and experienced His immeasurable value, have acted decisively to make Him Lord of their life.  Some things are easier to give up than others, sure, but the more you experience Him, the easier it does become to shed away all that blocks you from Him.

You turn from things because they harm your highly valued relationship with Him, not merely because you’re not suppose to do this or that, or because it is against the rules.  Christ is much deeper than that.

Have you truly found the kingdom of God?

If you can’t say for sure, perhaps you should keep searching, and search diligently.  For all who diligently search, do find. This is promised us.

If you have not found it, perhaps ask yourself, “How hard have I been looking?”

October 12 / Proverbs 12 / Matthew 12


Proverbs 12:5

The thoughts of the righteous are just.

How you think determines how you act, which determines your results, the fruit of your life.

What kind of person you really are is determined by what and how you think–which only God and you know.

How do you think of people?

All people.

When you’re in your coffin, you’ll be judged by how you loved people.

It is time for Christians to cease being selective of who we love.  Jesus’ standards for us in this area are pretty darn high.  He basically told us that if we love those who love us, who are kind to us, who give us a sense of significance and worth, then “la de frickin’ da.”

It is time for us to stop our contemptuous, looking-down-on, secret desire for eugenics, bigotry. It is unhealthy. It is unChristian. It is anti-Christ.

Here is an example of what is heard often: “If you want some entertainment, you should check out the people at the Beech Grove Wal-Mart!”  And this is from Christians.


Why would that be entertaining?

Are they not made in the image of God?  Or de we subconsciously believe they were made in the image of Trailer Park Satan?

Did Jesus die for them, just as He did for you?

Do you know them? Their stories? Each of them? Do you care for them? Have they harmed you in any way? Do they want and need to be known, cherished, and loved? And who should do that?

Sure, I see the humor. I’ve laughed at it before. And yeah, I get a little nervous at truck stops in small Indiana towns, especially with my Mexican wife. But isn’t there something better? Something higher for we who follow Jesus? As we mature in Christ, should we not start to see all people differently? With more love?

It is the love of God that changes the world and is the healing of the nations.  It is His love thru the church–which is not a building nor a 501-C-3, but it is people.  It is us.  It is you and me, loving the world with the actual love of Jesus thru us.

The greatest gift we can offer the world is to be one with God, so that His love may flow thru us and supernaturally touch all with whom we come into contact with.

What else is there?

Matthew 12:31-32

The “Unpardonable Sin.” Or “Unforgiveable Sin.”

What is it?

Here is some helpful commentary from The Gospel Transformation Bible:

Jesus speaks alarmingly here of a sin that cannot be forgiven (see also 1 John 5:16–17). It is important to consider this statement within its broader context in order to understand what it means. Jesus is responding to the claim of the Pharisees that he casts out demons by means of demonic power instead of the power of God’s Spirit (Matt. 12:24Mark 3:28–30). This is the second time in the Gospel that the Pharisees have said this (cf. Matt. 9:34; see also 10:25), and between the first and the second occurrences of this verdict on Jesus’ exorcisms, they have hatched a conspiracy to kill him (12:14). Their “blasphemy against the Spirit,” then, is not an impulsive action or statement. It is rather a determined course of godlessness arising from a settled conviction that God’s chosen servant, on whom God has put his Spirit (v. 18), is an agent of the very demonic powers Jesus came to defeat.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unchanging conviction that Jesus is evil. In essence, the only “unforgivable” sin is a conclusive rejection of Christ rather than a contrite reception of him.

Matthew 12:33-37

A tree is known by its fruit.

It is interesting to note that whenever final judgement is spoken of in the Bible, it states that we will be judged on our works.  We are saved by faith, but will be judged on our works, and not just in the big, sexy areas, but on how we actually lived the ordinary day to day, how we treated all others–especially those at the Beech Grove Wal-Mart and small town truck stops.