January 23 / Proverbs 23 / Matthew 23


Proverbs 23:23

Get Truth and never sell it, never hold it back. Why would we not freely share God’s life giving Truth? Is it not freely available for all who seek it?

Matthew 23:8-10

The hierarchy established by Jesus: There’s God, and then everybody else. The minute we think some people are intrinsically greater than others, we are hopeless, for the same Holy Spirit is available to all of us. We have as much of God as we want to have. Some take more advantage of what He has made available to us than others.

Matthew 23:11

There’s that pesky “servant” word again. Must be something to that…

Matthew 23:23-24

In EVERYTHING, be sure to keep in mind what REALLY matters–the reason we do what we do. It is for love of God and others, to live the life that really is life. Nothing is to be done with a checklist mentality.

January 22 / Proverbs 22 / Matthew 22

wedding garment

Proverbs 22:24-25

If it’s true that you do become the average of the three to five people you spend the most time with, make sure Jesus is one of those people!

Matthew 22:11-14

Bible commentaries indicate that the wedding host provided attire for guests so that all could be appropriately dressed for the ceremony. I wonder if perhaps this is to be a picture of the robe of righteousness provided for us thru Jesus’ sacrifice that we are to put on, and those who don’t are trying to go their own way… Kind of a slap in the face isn’t it?

“I know you went thru hell to give me this killer robe and all, but no thanks, I’ll just wear what I have on.”

robe of right

The Human Condition

As we become more aware of the dynamics of our unconscious, we can receive people and events as they are, rather than filtered through what we would like them to be, expect them to be, or demand them to be. This requires letting go of the attachments, aversions, “shoulds,” and demands on others and on life that reflect the mentality of a child rather than that of a grownup. The latter, under normal conditions, is responsible for his or her choices.

-Thomas Keating

January 21 / Proverbs 21 / Matthew 21

evil tenants1

Proverbs 21:5

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.

There is no get-rich-quick. There is no magic pill. You don’t get in great shape without hard work, without diligence. This is a law of the universe as instituted by YHWH. Get on board with this, and you can start really moving your life.

Forget waiting for a break, for something wonderful to just effortlessly happen to you. Make it happen via the abilities God has granted you. “Nothing great comes without great effort,” they say. No one ever sat on the couch for a year and became a great violin player.

Forget looking for an easy, quick path to awesomeness. Walk the longer challenging-but-worth-it path and experience life as God intended for you. I talk to people almost everyday who want something for nothing. Who want peace in their life with no cost or effort. The quicker you accept the fact that this is not how life works in God’s world, the better off you are.  At the very least, peace will come thru much ardent prayer. But even that is some effort.

But always remember, it is well worth the effort to be close to our Father. We do indeed reap what we sow. “Energy flows where direction goes.”

And yes, for the record, all is grace…yet, well, C.S. Lewis said it much better than I can:

 If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God , how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?

Matthew 21:33-46

The parable of the evil tenants and the benevolent Landowner.

The tenants “forgot” they were simply stewards of the land and had no ownership of it. We too, are merely appointed custodians of God’s vineyard. Once we start thinking it is ours, we are done. This is pride, arrogance, ownership. And it leads to not finishing well.

May we always remember who the Landowner is. May we always remember our role, our privileged role. Israel became so blinded that they killed God’s prophets and even His own Son. Never think we are above this. We’ve all done this to some degree, protecting our own traditions or pet dogma at the expense of knowing God for who He truly is, or simply from-the-heart loving God, and deeply loving others.

The end of everything is love and service to YHWH.

Forever now is Lord LOGOS.

evil tenants2

January 20 / Proverbs 20 / Matthew 20

vinetard workers

Matthew 20:1-16

The parable of the workers in the vineyard.

First off, don’t whine about ANYTHING, EVER.

OK, there’s more here to glean than that.

The God who Jesus revealed is lavish. He is extremely generous, full of grace–rewarding those who have earned no reward–which is you and me. In the kingdom of God, or the “KOG”, we do not care that all receive the same coin for differing amounts of labor, for what is that coin but Christ Himself and the forgiveness of all sins? What more do you want? In the KOG, one who started work in the morning could actually argue that they are “paid” more simply due to the fact that they have been under a gracious Lord’s employ longer than those who started working later. Instead of feeling somehow wronged, they realize that they have simply had the privilege of enjoying the one coin–Christ Himself–which is all that is desired, for longer in this life.

It is wicked to wrong God; but still worse to think oneself wronged by God. And men think this oftener than one would suppose.  -J.A. Bengel


Matthew 20:20-28

What if we changed our language and replaced the word “leader” with “servant” or “steward?” House Church servant, small group steward, youth servant, worship servant, Bible study steward, etc.

Matthew 20:29-34

Seek to truly understand others’ needs thru asking direct questions. Leave nothing to assumption.

Proverbs 20:5

Ministry involves loving and studying others in order to see their true needs, pray for them accurately, and serve them well.

Proverbs 20:24

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? You can connect the dots later.

The ways, mind, and heart of God

Are certainly mysterious

“My plans are not your plans”

But remember this

That everything I do I do in love

To bring you closer to me

No matter what you’re problems or

Circumstances happen to be

Tourniquet (one of the greatest Christian metal bands of all time)


January 19 / Proverbs 19 / Matthew 19


Proverbs 19:8

People who cherish understanding will prosper.

You spend the most time on whatever you cherish. Take a good look at your daily/weekly schedule. What do you most cherish?

Proverbs 19:11

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

Kingdom vision allows you to overlook anything and become “unoffendable.”

Sensible people don’t take everything personally. They see beyond it to what is really going on, to what really matters in the situation. Small vision sees only how something affects you.

Grow up.

Expand your field of view.

Pray more deeply.

Of course, if you’re not living in the delight of our Father, drinking from the Living Water, you cannot really live unoffendably, because you still need approval from things and people that are not God to feel value and worth. You need everything to go your way.

God asks us, “Am I enough?”

If it is helpful, remind yourself daily, “I am who I AM says I am.”

Proverbs 19:18

Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.

I’ve read in several studies that if you do not have the respect and discipline of your child by between ages six to eight, that you are most likely hosed.

For those parents with children younger than this range, I hope this is inspiration to focus on them, pray for them, love them with your sacrificial presence and delight.

Matthew 19:14

If you’re not going to come to God as a humble child, don’t even bother. It is wasted energy.

I believe we lack much in humility and reverence. Have we forgotten who God is? Have we too far advanced our own position to greatness beyond what has been bestowed upon us? In other words, do we attribute everything to the self instead of to God from whom all blessings flow?

We could use a good dose of humility before our Creator these days.  The kingdom is made up of people who know they are nothing without God. The kingdom is not made up of people dependent on self.

In his elegant book Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue, Paul Woodruff writes,

Reverence begins in a deep understanding of human limitations; from this grows the capacity to be in awe of whatever we believe lies outside our control–God, truth, justice, nature, even death. The capacity for awe, as it grows, brings with it the capacity for respecting fellow human beings, flaws and all.

Simply put, reverence is the virtue that keeps human beings from trying to act like gods.

For an excellent reset of your proper place before God, I cannot recommend highly enough A.W. Tozer’s beautiful work The Knowledge of the Holy. It is one of those books I read every year because of the great reminder that it is, and which is so desperately and continuously needed.

All praise and glory be to our great God, the Almighty, the King of creation; and to His Son who rules with Him-Jesus Christ; and to His Holy Spirit who empowers us all. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

January 18 / Proverbs 18 / Matthew 18

Sinking with a millstone.

Proverbs 18:13

If one gives answer before hearing, it is folly and shame.

Actively and intently listen to others so that you can accurately discern their needs before giving advice.  If we are listening with the ear of our heart to hear someone’s needs, we will then more naturally ask good follow up questions to better understand, as well as help lead them to discover, what is true of themselves. Self-discovery leads to action much more than being lectured does.

Do you want the other person to see what is robbing them of life and then make the necessary changes to kill it? Or do you want to spout what you know so you feel better for saying it? Or because you think they’re pathetic for not seeing it? Or because you are fed up with them?

Matthew 18:6-7

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to trip up,” he went on, “it would be better for them to have a huge millstone hung around their neck and be drowned far out in the deep part of the sea. It’s a terrible thing for the world that people will be made to stumble. Obstacles are bound to appear and trip people up, but it will be terrible for the person who makes them come.”  [The Kingdom New Testament]

Causing others to sin, tempting people to do wrong, being a catalyst for anyone to go against God’s will is really, really, really bad.

Matthew 18:21-35

Not forgiving someone is really, really, really bad. See verses 34 and 35. It’s not just a karma thing; it’s an answering to God thing.

January 17 / Proverbs 17 / Matthew 17


Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at ALL TIMES, and a brother is there for the difficult times. 

A true friend is not only there when things are going well and easy. But they are especially there in the dark times, when life is not so fun. This is when we desperately need people to be with us. Sometimes that is all we need, someone to just be there with us in our pain. You don’t always have to say the perfect thing or be Super Inspirational Person. Sometimes you need to SHUT YOUR BIG YAPPER! as Chris Farley told us.

I shall never forget what my friend Danny did for me when my father passed away. He sat with me. He didn’t talk. He sat with me. And it meant the world to me.

So far, in my few years and miles on this journey, I have found the most effective ministering to be listening  very intently with the ear of your heart, and then asking good questions.

Proverbs 17:22

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit is dryness to the bones.

A joyful heart as a result of the healing presence of God and God’s people is what is so needed to combat the darkness of life. We can get through anything as long as the one who means the most to us is with us thru it. Who means the most to you?

And remember who the real enemy is through all of this. When our brothers and sisters are going through the rough stuff of life, they may not be the most pleasant people to be around or the most rational. Look beyond that to their pain and where it comes from. We have an enemy. Be angry, annoyed, and sick of “him,” not our dear hurting brothers and sisters. And listen to YHWH’s voice through it all, not the enemy, not even the hurt person only. For then you will just be dragged down as well.

As has been said, “I’ll sit with you in your hole, but I’m not gonna hang pictures on the wall.”

Matthew 17:5

“This is my dear son and I’m delighted with Him. Pay attention to Him.”

Here we have the ultimate affirmation, don’t we? YHWH states who Jesus is, how He feels about Him, and how He sees Him. And thanks to Jesus, this applies to us as well! This is our true identity.

We are our loving God’s dear child.

He delights in us.

He approves of us and accepts us. There’s not much better approval than someones’s endorsement of “Pay attention to her” or “Listen to this guy.”

We actually are worthy, not because of anything we’ve attained though, or need to attain. Which takes so much pressure off. We simply are accepted because of what Jesus attained for us, because of supernatural love, because of who God is. Therefore we just are. Everyday, we choose to live into that truth or we don’t.

Choose to take one hour today to totally live into that truth and see how it changes you.


January 16 / Proverbs 16 / Matthew 16

satan fall4

Proverbs 16:5

All those who are arrogant (proud of heart) are an abomination to the Lord; be assured, they will not go unpunished.

Every breath, every talent, every ability we have is a gift from our good God. Once you actually realize this, you hear clearly the foolishness of bragging, in yourself as well as others. God did create us to be creators, and gave us the abilities to do many great things, but again, it’s all from Him. As my spiritual partner Dave says, “Who would you rather meet? Peyton Manning, or the Person who made Peyton Manning?” Good question. Easy answer if you ask me.

P.S. The arrogant being an abomination to God and not going unpunished should scare the prideful pants off you!

Hear what Charles Bridges wrote in his classic study of Proverbs on this verse:

The hatefulness of a proud look has been mentioned [Prov.6:17]. But the searcher of hearts sees the proud of heart under a humble look. Men see no hatred in this spirit. It brings no disgrace. Instead, it is often thought to be high-minded. But it keeps back the heart from God. It lifts up the heart against Him. It contends for supremacy with Him. So…when it strikes at God, what wonder that God strikes at it, as a hateful abomination to Himself?

In addition, how unbecoming such sin really is! A creature so utterly dependent, so fearfully guilty, yet proud in heart! A true child of a fallen parent, who, in dreaming to be as God, made himself like the devil. Many are the forms of this hateful spirit. Some are proud of their beauty; some of their talents; some of their rank; some of their goodness–all forgetting, that “what do you have that you did not receive?” [1 Cor.4:7] all unconscious, that these attitudes of the heart are an abomination to the Lord.

Matthew 16:23

“you’re not looking at things like God does! You’re looking at things like a mere mortal!”

Vision. How we see is important, is key to how we actually live out our lives. Life is so much deeper than we give it credit for. Most of reality is beneath the surface and invisible to us.

Whenever someone wrongs you, it is the shallow vision of a mere mortal that takes great offense and focuses in on your own hurt, thus spiritually blinded and unable to even see the hurt in the other person. But kingdom vision sees beyond this elementary plain, thru to the heart of the other person, and realizes there is a deeper incoherance and hurt in them causing the outburst. In the kingdom, your heart goes out to them, seeing way past your own trivial offense and into the great need for healing that the other person needs and wants, tho they may not be able to express. But first we must be healed.

This vision does not usually come to us quickly, but by an intentional cultivation thru practices that make this vision our natural vision, by the renewing of our mind, by the decided effort to put into place what is needed to be conformed to the image of Christ.


January 15 / Proverbs 15 / Matthew 15


Proverbs 15:28

The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer

This is my desire. I’ve read that whenever anyone asked author Dallas Willard a question, there was always a long pause. Starting with a long, thoughtful pause would be good for us. I’m making a conscious effort to seek Holy Spirit’s wisdom and insight before spouting off all I know!

Matthew 15:1-20

“you make God’s word null and void because of your tradition”

Don’t do anything just because you should do it. Do everything out of love for God. Do only what emanates from your center, after training your center to love and seek God above all else in the world.

Don’t go to church because you should. Go because you love to be around God’s people, because of your deep need for the encouragement godly people bring in our lives.

Don’t read the Bible because you’re suppose to. Read it to get to know God more deeply. You have the power to make God’s words null and void, or else a Tree of Life!

Don’t pray because you have to. Pray in order to cultivate intimacy with Daddy by just talking to Him about your day, about your life, about your worries, about your joys.

Do nothing in order to just get it done. Do nothing merely because you’re suppose to. As a friend of mine once wisely advised me, “Don’t should all over yourself.”