December 21 / Proverbs 21 / John 14

Proverbs 21:21

Whoever pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, success, and honor.
As we always say, Nothing great comes without great effort. This is not the effort of senseless striving that the Bible condemns-striving for God’s favor & love. Rather this is the effort of pursuing a life of right living that brings great reward as God set up in His laws of the universe.
Pursuing rhythms of life & good habits bring about a good life.
None of this comes of course without God prompting us to do so, whether we know & acknowledge it or not. What are your rhythms of life? When do you set aside time to just listen to God? To read about Him? To think about Him? To rest in Him?
My workout partner & I agreed last week that the greatest & most challenging effort of all may very well be quieting the mind to actually listen to what God has to say to you. This is nearing the realm of impossibility for many, if not most people in our 2013 American culture of noise & distraction.
But the reward far outweighs the little pain of the effort.
Einstein encouraged students to set aside times for “incubation”. Time to sit with what they heard & were learning to let it sink in & trigger new thought. Without doing this, you will rarely gain new insights, much less assimilate them into your everyday life.

Proverbs 21:30
There is no wisdom, understanding or advice that can succeed against the Lord.


John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
If Jesus tells us to not let our hearts be troubled or afraid, that means it must be possible to do so. Why would He instruct us to do something that cannot be done? That would just be cruel.
Because we have the Holy Spirit, who is our advocate, helper,  and comforter, we have the power to not allow our hearts to be troubled or afraid. So when I’m troubled or afraid, it is only because I have allowed the trouble & fear myself. This is deep & worthy of meditation to me [incubation].
The ability to overcome fear and a troubled heart is always available to me. Do I employ it? Do I really go to my Helper in confidence to obtain the comfort I need and that is readily available to me? This obviously includes going to a trusted, godly friend who always points us to the Holy Spirit.
He is the God of all comfort.
“All is well, and all will be well.” -Julian of Norwich

 

December 20 / Proverbs 20 / John 13

Proverbs 20:3

Foolish people are always fighting, but backing away from an accusation brings you honor.

Sometimes, you just need to SHUT. UP.

Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.

It is the pride of fools that keeps them fighting…verbally, physically.

And it is the humility of the wise that allows them to back away. They know who they are and are well grounded.So they see no need to be defensive.

There’s a story of a popular preacher who was being defamed publicly, and when the media asked him why he was not defending himself, “Oh I’m just glad they can’t see all the sin in my heart. I’m much worse than they make me out to be!”

John 13:3-5

Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He around Him.

When you know who you really are, you know your true identity in God. You are then free and able to humbly serve others in even the most menial and demeaning of tasks.

Your pride is not damage one tiny fraction, for you no longer have any fleshly pride to be damaged.

 

December 19 / Proverbs 19 / John 12

woman-on-beach

Proverbs 19:17

Being kind to the poor is like lending to the Lord; He will reward you for what you have done.

Proverbs 19:18

Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves.

This hearkens back to the power of “why” for me. Why do you correct your children? Is it to get them to shut up? Behave right in public so as to stop embarrassing me? To stop annoying me? Or is it to train them to be good people? To be godly? To love them and care for them? Always thinking long-term in the present moment?

Having the right heart in correcting your children makes a world of difference in the people they may become.

Proverbs 19:20

Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise.

Proverbs 19:17

Being kind to the poor is like lending to the Lord; He will reward you for what you have done.

Proverbs 19:18
Correct your children while there is still hope; do not let them destroy themselves.
This hearkens back to the power of “why” for me. Why do you correct your children? Is it to get them to shut-up? Behave right now? Stop annoying me? Or is it to train them to be good people? To be godly? To love them & care for them? Always thinking long-term in the moment? Having the right heart in correcting your children makes a world of difference.

Proverbs 19:20
Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise.

Proverbs 19:21
People can make all kinds of plans, but only the Lord’s plan will happen.
Here’s where I throw some of my rational thinking aside.
I think I plan stuff and I do what I plan. It sure looks that way.
But I cannot comprehend the mind of God, His plans, the universe, Heiseneberg’s uncertainty principle…
Just trust that God’s plans ultimately go, no matter how it looks, and you are on your way to much more peace.
Work hard and give up at the same time. Confusing yet liberating.
Hey that could be a tagline for something!
The Ripple Effect-Confusing, yet liberating.
Rob Pallikan- Confusing, yet liberating…next business card.


John 12:46
“I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness.”
You wanna know what God is like? He’s just like Jesus.
Study Jesus, you’re studying God Himself, our Creator.
He most revealed Himself thru this man Jesus, the image of the invisible God. It’s easy to forget this. To forget how much Jesus of Nazareth revealed to us and how much He liberates our tiny thinking.
Trying to comprehend this, I imagine what it might be like if the wind was to become a person. If you could see wind, it would look like this. If wind were to become human, here is the person wind would be. This person reveals the essence of wind.
Believing in Jesus, our eyes are opened to the reality of all things, their true nature. We see life and people in their true essence. We see thru the lens of agape–placing high value on people who are normally rejected, seeing thru the surface issues of illness, weakness, and failure to the jewel at the core of each person.
We believe in order to understand. We don’t try to understand in order to believe. Believe me. Believing enlightens. Jesus enlightens.
Without faith it is impossible to see spiritually.

 

Faith in Jesus is demanded because through Him God is known.

December 18 / Proverbs 18 / John 11

Proverbs 18:13

Anyone who answers without listening is foolish and confused.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
How many times do we answer a matter before really listening & thinking it thru?

Proverbs 18:20-21
The words we use are very, very important. Do not take lightly the words we give to people. They can hurt, heal, destroy or encourage.
How kingdom healing it is to encourage someone everyday.

John 11:9-10
Our time is short, and just as with the hours of daylight for the traveler, each hour must be used to maximum benefit.
How would our days change if this was our attitude?

 

 

December 17 / Proverbs 17 / John 10

Proverbs 17:9

Whoever forgives someone’s sin makes a friend, but gossiping about the sin breaks up friendships.
Forgiveness is a requirement in the Kingdom of God. If you are harboring unforgiveness, bitterness, animosity, you are not living in the Kingdom.
Plain & simple. The kingdom is big, yet has no room for this toxic occupier.
Jesus emphasized the importance of forgiving. There is great & true power in forgiveness. Talking about someone’s wrongs only spreads poison [not the band, thank God]. He said the way we forgive is how we will be forgiven.
Since we are to love others as much as ourselves, I wonder if this may include forgiving of self. This is the hardest person to forgive for many.
We have a magnet on our fridge with this quote by Emerson that inspires & reminds me of this everyday >>>
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”


John 10:9-10
With Jesus, we are ultimately safe. In Him we have the life of the coming age. This is our comfort, knowing we are eternally in His hands & no irredeemable harm can possibly come to us.
With our new kingdom vision, our sight transcends this temporary world into eternity with God. Immanuel. We see this here & now for what it is within the meta-narrative of our life with God.
It is said that all masters see problems merely as opportunities for growth. Inconveniences are seen from the context that God is with us and we are OK.
Perhaps we are annoyed, but that even more & more quickly dissipates as we recognize that our annoyance only arises out of non-kingdom selfish thinking. Then, with this awareness, we can look clearly into the “inconvenient” situation to see & hear
YHWH & what He has for us to grow us. And we realize “He is loving me even now in this”, and if I let go & surrender to Him, I can have peace and experience the growth He desires to happen right now in any situation.
“I came so that they could have life-yes, life that is full to overflowing.”

 

 

December 16 / Proverbs 16 / John 9

why

Proverbs 16:2

You may believe you are doing right, but the Lord measures the motives.
Why do you do what you do? Anything that you do?
This is what God looks at more than what you do.
In any decision or action, ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. This gives a greater clarity to your motivations and decision making.
Why do you discipline your children?
Why are you buying a new house?
Why do you workout?
Why do you go to work?
Why do you eat what you eat?
Why do you give that organization money?
Why am I annoyed with people?
Why do you send that email of Scripture every morning?
Why do you celebrate Christmas?
Why do I help people?
Why do you go to small group?
Why do you watch Netflix?
Why do you have such a huge Star Wars collection?
As far as anything we are unhappy with, I venture to say that if we asked why enough times to get to the root of it, we would find, every time, that it is due to selfish desires & self-centered false expectations of life. That’s when “metanoia”, or a change of vision for the kingdom, comes in.
What if the why of all we did was for the love of God & love of others? What if His love was the end of all we did and thought?
If everything we did was born out of a motivation of the love of Jesus?

John 9:39-41
Spiritual enlightenment comes from total dependence on God for it.
If you think you have any spiritual insight into God without it coming directly from Him, then you are most blind.
It is only those who have truly opened themselves to God, the Holy Spirit’s teaching, who are able to see. The ones who have admitted blindness and that their only hope of seeing is God’s healing & awakening, it is they who have the sharpest of vision.
Thinking you know, without God-given insight, thinking you know through keeping God’s law, through reading the Bible without listening to the Spirit during, makes you the most blind of all,
because your “knowing” comes via your own pride. We are Spirit-led, not Bible-led. We can hear the Spirit via the Bible, which is why we read the Bible. We don’t read the Bible to amass knowledge, or to build a case against what or who we don’t like. We read it to listen, learn, & obey.
It is only in humility and openness of heart in which we will be able to truly see.

 

December 15 / Proverbs 15 / John 8

soli_deo_gloria

Proverbs 15

  • Accept correction
  • Take instruction
  • Embrace reproof
  • Learn from others
  • Know yourself by listening to those who know you
  • Seek wise counsel
  • Gain wisdom thru intentional pursuit of it
These are the ways to a life of wisdom. A quality life.
A long life, not merely in number of years, but in depth of fulness.
You can live a good, long life in just 33 years…or so I’ve heard.

John 8:47
The one who is from God speaks God’s words.
 
Jesus was the purest conduit to God. Which is why His Father said to listen to Him. Jesus told Martha that her sister had done the one thing needed. She listened to Him.
Tozer said to “Listen to the man who listens to God.” What else is there? Isn’t that what we really want? The greatest preacher points you to God, not himself.
I want to hear from the Source, not vain philosophies or viewpoints of men. We talk about meeting great or famous people. But what about meeting with the One who created them??? This is what Jesus gave us open access to.
The pure & godly minister will seek above all to communicate the heart of God to people. He won’t care about people seeing his viewpoint, or thinking him brilliant or clever. He just cares about people coming to God and to be the purest conduit he can be. He does not care who gets the credit, only that people are healed of their soul sickness thru Jesus.
“I am the healer. I want to heal you. But you must come to me, not anything or anyone else. Though I will use people to bring you to me. You will know who they are, for they speak my words, not their own.”

 

 

December 14 / Proverbs 14 / John 7

Proverbs 14:6

We have as much of God as we want to have. The more open we are to Him, the more we see Him at work.
The more we pursue a relationship with Him, the more we get to know Him. The more we think about Him, the closer we get to Him.
You don’t find what you don’t really believe in, since you don’t search. Tho there are those times when YHWH decides, for His glory, to make Himself known to those who are not even looking!
But why wait around for that?

John 7:37
“If anybody’s thirsty, they should come to Me and have a drink.
 
Jesus is saying, “Now you come to me to be filled.”
Not the Temple, not the Law, not other people. Me.
Where do you drink from?
There is only one source that satisfies and gives true life.
Whenever you are thirsty, train yourself to go first to what will quench the thirst you never thought you’d be without.
The only source that will so fill you, it will spill onto and into others’ lives as a result!

 

December 13 / Proverbs 13 / John 6

Proverbs 13:10

Pride always leads to arguments.

When you are filled with God and His love for people, you don’t find yourself arguing with everybody to prove what you believe. You find yourself loving everybody and therefor caring for them at the deep soul level. All you want is their good, and all you see is their precious value.

you no longer fret over winning or defending yourself when misunderstood. You see way beyond these trivialities.

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. -Isaiah 30:15

John 6:1-14

Jesus lived in God’s world, always looking to Him and what He could do, as opposed to staring at the obstacles at His feet or seeing human problems as insurmountable. With God, all things are possible.

To him who believes.

To him who hopes.

To him who loves.

“Stop telling God how big your problems are, and start telling your problems how big your God us.”

December 12 / Proverbs 12 / John 5

Proverbs 12:5

The advice of the wicked will trick you.
We are bombarded with the world’s life-stealing advice everyday. It has to fought thru the filling of truth on a daily basis.
I was tricked for years, succumbing to the world’s advice of what has the highest value. I was deceived into thinking it was doing whatever pleased me most all the time. How silly it is to me after awakening to the truth & beauty of life in God’s presence.
Abundant Life.
God’s value system is so much deeper and more satisfying than anything the world has to offer. If only you experience it, truly experience the Presence & Love of Jesus, there is no going back.

Proverbs 12:11
Those who work their land will have plenty of food, but those who chase vain dreams will be empty handed.
Nothing great comes without great effort. You don’t get muscular by sitting around taking “Get Big Quick” pills.

Proverbs 12:16
Fool quickly show that they are upset, but the wise ignore insults.
The wise person always looks at what really matters in a conversation, wading quickly thru the distracting fear-driven BS, to see what is actually going on in the other person & therefore how to respond appropriately.

Proverbs 12:19
Principles last forever.
Techniques come & go.

Proverbs 12:24
Hard workers will become leaders, but those who are lazy will be put to forced labor.

John 5:6
“Do you want to get well?”
This seems so obvious & makes you wonder why Jesus even asks this seeming ridiculous question to a man who has been disabled for 38 years.
Perhaps there is a deep lesson for us here.
Is it always obvious that a person wants healing from something toxic in their life? Logic tells us we want to get well, yet how many of us stay in & with something that robs us of life because, quite frankly, because we are afraid to let it go. It is, after all, a very part of our being. We have allowed it for so long & fostered it to become, at least in part, our very identity. But it is not who we are & seeing ourselves & each other thru the eyes of YHWH’s agape is to look straight thru to the immense value of the precious jewel that is at the core of every person.
The pruning in John 15 is not a cutting away of distractions from the outside, but rather the removal of what inhibits our moving forward from the inside. The very wood of the branch must be trimmed away in order to let the sap flow freely from the vine all the way thru & result in greater growth. Some of us need more trimming than others. So what.
Do you really want to get well? Be free of addiction? Be free of needing to be well liked or thought of by everyone? Be free of beating yourself up all the time? What are you willing to commit to? What are you willing to allow God to prune in order to get to that place of freedom? What are you holding on to with your kung-fu grip & not willing to give up for God to heal you & fill you with His peace? [actions, habits or thoughts]