February 28 / Proverbs 28 / Luke 15


Proverbs 28:10

It is a terrible thing to cause someone to stumble, to be the catalyst for someone to fall or do what is evil in God’s sight. Be careful in your words and actions that you lead no one astray. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of a millstone hung around my neck and being cast into the sea. Partly, just because I’m hydrophobic, but still…

Proverbs 28:13

No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Whatever iniquity (division) you keep hidden in the dark recesses of your heart will hinder you in life. Any unforgiveness harbored will hold you back. Any bitterness or idol allowed to sit on the throne of your heart that rightfully belongs to God (because He created your heart for Himself), will greatly and negatively affect you day to day.

There’s no escaping this. It’s a law of the universe instituted by the Maker and Designer of said universe. In the wonderful words oft quoted by Will Ferrell, “It’s just science.”

Only by giving God back His rightful throne in your life will peace come to you.

Luke 15:3-10

Just because something is lost does not mean it has no value. Quite the opposite. Take your lost car keys for example. They have a high level of value, which is why you look so diligently for them.

How much more value does a lost PERSON have! They are of very high value to our Father. Never stop going after them.

Something or someone who is lost cannot fulfill their purpose.

Lost keys cannot start your car.

Lost people cannot live in loving relationship with God and heal the world.


February 27 / Proverbs 27 / Luke 14


Proverbs 27:18

Let’s do our part to care for our pastors in some way, according to the gifting YHWH has bestowed upon each of us.

Pastors receive plenty of critique. Let us balance those scales with a hefty load of prayer and encouragement. They have a tough task (see picture).

I read last week to take what you don’t like in your church, or church in general, and then pray to ask God how He sees it. A good centering practice to give proper perspective. Take everything to Him first. Then do whatever you want.

Proverbs 27:19

As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.

Who you really are is what lies hidden in your heart.

You are not the mask(s) that others are allowed to see.

YHWH loves us anyway.

To be loved, truly and authentically loved, is to be fully known and fully accepted.

May we reflect our loving Maker if in no other way, in this regard. Imagine someone who is ALWAYS glad to see you, no matter what you’ve done or failed to do. They are open armed at every moment regardless of your actions, words, thoughts.  The only possible way you cannot be with them or enjoy their company is by your own rejection of it, your own pride, your own stubbornness, your anti-Christlike rejection of yourself. What if more people were totally accepting? Imagine someone who hugs you tighter the more you screw up and miss the mark.

You’re imagining Jesus of Nazareth.

May we be conformed to His image and heal the world.

Proverbs 27:23

Ministry involves loving and studying people in order to know their needs and how best to pray for them and serve them.

-Luke Mertes

Luke 14:25-33

Count the cost of discipleship.

Are you willing to give yourself to following Jesus?

To submit to Him as your teacher and guide on how to live this life well?

Rabbis’ followers would commit to memorizing and following their teachings.

All Jesus asks of you is your entire undivided heart, your inner eyes and ears.

Is He worth it?

February 26 / Proverbs 26 / Luke 13

Ice Formation -- Carini Preserve -- Chester CT.

Proverbs 26:12

There’s even more hope for the willfully ignorant than for those who think they know it all.

Luke 13:6-9

There’s two things we don’t like, but that help us grow:

Having our roots messed with, and

crap in our life.

But aren’t these necessary for real growth? For maturity?

We must find the root, the real source, of our sin and traumas if we are to give them to God for the only true healing that we desperately need. But it is painful to dig up the roots, to find the lies that were implanted in our lives, perhaps long ago. And for some, this requires deep digging over a longer period than we’d like. Yet when we do find the source and name it to YHWH to be healed, there is such joyful freedom that the victorious release far outweighs the pain of the arduous excavation.

And then there’s the manure in our life. We know we can grow immensely thru suffering. Our response to what we deem as excrement in our life makes or breaks us, not the excrement.

Let’s take a simple example-this winter. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard “I can’t wait for spring!” People get so down in these cold, dark months. Understandable, but can we respond differently than damning the present moment and discontentedly wishing for the next season? What if we responded more with an awe for the beauty of the snow and ice formations from our heavenly artist? We can take this time to choose growth in the midst of something we don’t especially care for.

Over the two warmer days last weekend I was out with Gaby & Zayra on separate occasions. Saturday, I practically froze my face off walking around with Zayra because she could not get enough of walking over every piece of ice, listening to it crackle under our feet, and exclaiming at least 47 times, “Look at the beautiful creations!” referring to the designs in the ice. Leaves were sunken three or four inches down into the ice with a perfect outline of each curve and point. We would take the leaves out and look at the awesome design in the thick ice that was cut in by each uniquely shaped leaf. I had never seen anything like that before. Had I just never looked for it?This was a beautiful time.

On Sunday I took a long walk with Gaby, again still not the hottest of days. She also looked at the ice formations and wanted to walk in the woods…and walk, and walk. It could’ve been boring, but in those times, it is good to just listen and be together. To “waste time” together as some say. That is when we get to really know one another. She wanted to walk the extremely long way home, then our neighbor talked to us for what felt like three days…but it was all pure gold, you know?

Thank you God for the beauty of each moment and allowing me to see what You have to offer in it. Even in the midst of this record-breaking winter.

February 25 / Proverbs 25 / Luke 12


Proverbs 25:14

Please, for the love of God, don’t be that guy who is always talking about what he’s gonna do and rarely delivers.

Proverbs 25:16-17,27

Don’t do too much of anything, even good things. Don’t fill your schedule to the brim. Leave space for God, for self, for divine appointments AKA interruptions.

Proverbs 25:21-22

Actively showing kindness to those who do you wrong acts as the refining coals of fire placed upon something to be purified. This is God’s way, and it is much more powerful and effective than striking back.

(How different our lives would be if George Lucas named his second Star Wars movie “The Empire Shows Kindness!”)

Luke 12:4-7

Fear no one or nothing but God because only He has the real power and ability to destroy you.

People can only hurt you. They cannot destroy you or bring irredeemable harm to you.

Do not be afraid of God tho, for we are of inestimable value to Him who made us out of His love.

Luke 12:22-31

We literally have nothing to worry about, ever. We are ultimately taken care of by the Ultimate One.

The only thing we should devote ourselves to fully, is Knowing God and His Kingdom. Everything else is an infinite, distant second. The rest will be taken care of. He promises this. And He can back that promise because, well, He made everything.

Do you believe this?

Do you live as tho it’s true?

Luke 12:54-56

We study so much with very little value in comparison to God and His word.

It is ridiculous when you think about it.

We try to land things on Mars, searching for answers to who knows what, yet we are depressed, starving, and killing each other.

We surf the internet for hours, when there are fatherless children in increasingly great number who need a mentor.

What if just 10% of this “ridiculous time” and “ridiculous energy” was spent on these much more worthy pursuits of people?

We could change the world, quite literally.

But we don’t.

We keep on with our selfish little pursuits of ridiculosity in our numbed sleepwalking substitute we call life.

Meanwhile, the world bleeds.

This is sad.

This is sin.

As Christ-followers, we are God’s healing agents in the world. May we not get caught up in the numb ineffectiveness the world would have us call “life”.

May we get caught up in Life that really is Life indeed.

God’s Kingdom. Where His desires for the world are carried out.

February 24 / Proverbs 24 / Luke 11


Proverbs 24:5-6

Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones, and those who have knowledge than those who have strength; for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

You can essentially “stupid-proof” your life by surrounding yourself with wise people. Anyone can do this, really. As we say over and over:

You become the average of the three to five people you spend the most time with.

I choose to surround myself with brilliant, loving people.

It will rub off on me.

Luke 11:2

A few ancient authorities render what we have as “Your kingdom come” with “Your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us.”

How beautiful.

Luke 11:5-13

This passage has been a game-changer for me.

Perseverance in prayer.

It is worth it.

He will answer. He will give the Holy Spirit.

How often we wuss out after praying for something for a week or even a meager few days, when God is prepared to answer, if only we keep asking, seeking, and knocking. Perhaps in His grand plan and infinite wisdom He wanted us to pray for 17 days for that thing we prayed for for only 9 days…

We have no idea what needs to happen in the invisible, spiritual realm in order for our request to be answered accordingly. Just check out Daniel 10:12-14 if you want your mind blown to bits for a few minutes.

We don’t know so much.

February 23 / Proverbs 23 / Luke 10

mary & martha

Proverbs 23:12,23

Apply your mind to instruction.

Work at it.

Acquire wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

These are worthy pursuits via God’s path. Think of all the worthless pursuits we engage in day after day that amount to nothing but distraction from what is truly meaningful.

Luke 10:2

“There’s a great harvest out there,” He said to them, “but there aren’t many workers. So plead with the harvest-master to send out workers for the harvest.”

One of the very few places in Scripture where there is instruction given to pray for a specific thing that is named.

Tho we are to pray specifically I believe, we are rarely told in the Bible what exactly to pray for. All that to say, this is very important and worthy of our full attention.

Luke 10:25-37

The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as much as we love ourself.

Who is a good neighbor?

The one who shows mercy is a good neighbor.

This is straight from the top.

Whoever you come into contact with who you can do good to is your neighbor. Whoever is in need in your path that you don’t have time for is your neighbor.

Let’s not be that person who does not help someone because we have to get to church, or we might be late to Bible study.

Luke 10:41-42

This is one of the pinnacle passages in all of Scripture in my opinion. Think of all that this encompasses and says to us:

“You are worried and distracted by many things when there is need of only one thing-TO LISTEN TO ME.”

February 22 / Proverbs 22 / Luke 9


Luke 9:46-48

A dispute arose among them about which of them was the greatest. Jesus knew this quarrel was going on in their hearts, so He took a child and stood it among them. “If you receive this child in my name,” He said, “you receive Me. And anyone who receives Me, receives the One who sent Me. Whoever is the least among you-that’s the one who is great.”

So here, Jesus turns the normal thinking upside-down to show the Kingdom thinking thru an illustrative object lesson.

Status was a preeminent concern in ancient society.

Children in this first century culture had no status. But Jesus shows that in the Kingdom of God they  have the same status as Himself. Those with zero status in the world have the highest value in God’s Kingdom. Heiarchy disappears in God’s world. You see, under Jewish law, a sender could authorize messengers to act with his full legal authority to the extent of the commission given them.  Jesus declares that in God’s sight children are like messengers in Jewish custom, who bore the full authorization of the one they represented, so they did not need worldly status. Representatives of someone who had great authority exercised more authority than others who acted on their own.

What greater honor can anyone ask for than to be received as a messenger of God and Christ? This is what Jesus ascribes to this child. And this lesson came after Jesus was transfigured and God said to listen to Him. Now Jesus, God’s representative, says to listen to this child.

May we be inspired to listen only to God. To listen only to the person who listens to God.

May we be inspired to smash our pedestals so that we have none upon which to place anyone thereupon. For no one can live up to the greatness we ascribe to them when we elevate them so. For the greatest in the Kingdom, you might say, is just the one with more of God flowing thru them. So tho you may admire them, you are really just admiring God. Therefore, may it always point us to the Source.

How you listen to and treat children says a lot about you.

Listening to children, I believe, is listening to God. He has so much to tell us thru children. We miss much of it. Sad loss this is. Let’s start listening today.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up children the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.

This is a much used and abused verse of Scripture.

First of all this is a proverb not a promise. This is a general truth allowing for countless variables.

“Train up” here refers to dedication. Dedication to God and His ways. And also, “the way they should go” is very important here as it could likely refer to raising children with regard to their individual uniqueness. Train up the way each one should go by fully knowing your child and embracing the unique temperament and personality and talents and gifts he or she possesses. This can be more smoothly accomplished thru dedicating them to God and seeking what He has created them to be, not what you want them to be.

Do this while they’re young; do this consistently, and they will not forget it. It will be goodness ingrained. Tho they may stray, even for a while, the truth you instilled will be in there and will be remembered. You hear of very few children straying forever from two good parents who have loved them well in this manner.

And remember, a good example is worth a thousand sermons. What you do has more impact on your child than all the lectures you could ever give.

As has been said, truth is caught more than taught.

February 21 / Proverbs 21 / Luke 8

lamp lighting

Proverbs 21:5

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

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run, but hurry and scurry puts you further behind. [MSG]

There’s no magic pill, no shortcut, no silver bullet, only a long obedience in the same direction.

Proverbs 21:13

If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard.

It’s best not to ignore the poor. Remember this is not just the monetarily poor. In Judaism, “poor” typically referred to poor in spirit as much as poor in the physical sense. Honestly, it’s less drain on you to help those who simply don’t have enough money to get by in life than it is to come alongside those who are downcast, depressed, hopeless…

But they are who Jesus sends hope to thru His followers. If you’re not interacting with any horribly broken people, and being the healing of Christ to anyone poor in spirit, then you may ask yourself, “Why am I not?”

Luke 8:17-18

“Nobody lights a lamp, ” continued Jesus, “and then hides it under a pot or a bed. They put it on a lampstand, so that people who come in can see the light. You see, nothing is hidden which won’t become visible; nothing is concealed that won’t come to light. So be careful how you listen. If you’ve got something, more will be given to you; if you haven’t, even what you imagine you have will be taken away from you.”

Take careful note of how you listen to God and His word, for it is life. The more you absorb and share, the more you will be given. Listen below the surface to every parable, to every word from Jesus. Also, listen in this manner to life itself, to every person. Listening well is key to ministry. Jesus always listened for the real and actual need in others. He did not just wait for them to finish their sentence so He could start drilling them with truth.

I think this could also be referring to a teachable spirit and the importance and power of it. The more open you are to God’s workings everywhere in the world, the more you will be granted to see of God. The more open you are to listening for the needs of others, the more of their true needs you will see.

The more you interpret the world thru the light of Jesus, the more clearly you will see the world for what it truly is, the more “enlightened” you will become. But the less light you use (putting the lamp on the ground in the corner behind something), the less you see. Light is taken away from you and vision becomes much more limited.

Life is to be interpreted thru the lens of Christ. It is the lens which contains the most light by far. This life will only make sense in proportion to the amount of light with which you use to look at it.

February 20 / Proverbs 20 / Luke 7

deep water3

Proverbs 20:1

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is unwise.

If liquid you put in your body is taking you off course, you’re simply not wise.

Proverbs 20:5

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Everyone has purposes that motivate them, and intelligent, thinking people can and do draw those purposes out of them. This is more effective for inspiration than seeking first to put motivation into them, which is more agenda driven.

Being agenda free and patient, we can seek to find what is making a person get up in the morning, and then draw out of them what is necessary to live well.

Proverbs 20:9

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am cleansed from my sin”?

More proof that it’s God, and then everybody else under Him. There is no heiarchy.

Proverbs 20:18

Finalize plans with counsel

Good plans are made with good advice. Nobody makes great decisions all on their own, from their own limited experience and one-dimensional perspective. There’s plenty of good advice to be had. Find it. Use it. Don’t be a dork and try to do everything by yourself, on your own. It’s weird math, but you’re like one-fifth as effective as you would be by seeking the wisdom of just one other person. Imagine seeking advice from two wise people!

Quit making so many decisions by yourself. Your IQ is literally dropping every time you do that. [*NOTE: This may not be true at all, but I really enjoyed writing that]

Proverbs 20:24

A man’s steps are determined by the Lord, so how can anyone know his way?

We simply don’t (can’t) know or understand everything with our finite minds. Only One knows, and He offers Himself to us. Only by truly seeking Him can we begin to understand the mysteries of life and people.

When confused about someone, ask God how He sees them. Ask Jesus to show you more of His perspective.

Proverbs 20:27

The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life, searching the innermost parts.

YHWH looks at us in our depths, at who we really are, not merely what everybody else can see.

He looks at why we do what we do, not only at what we do.

Does this frighten you?

Or comfort you?

Luke 7:9

Jesus heard this and was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, “I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel!”

Twice in the gospel accounts it is recorded that Jesus was amazed, or marveled-here at this dude’s faith, and another time at Israel’s unbelief.


Actual belief is the key.

Do you really believe all of this stuff?

If we believe it, we act on it as if it is true.

February 19 / Proverbs 19 / Luke 6

Jesus prays alone

Proverbs 19:2

One who moves too hurriedly misses the way.

Slow the heck down today.

Be in the moment.

Smell some roses.




Or else you will miss the point of it all.

You will miss what each moment has to offer. What God is offering you in each moment is so often missed at the expense of hurry and thinking ahead, instead of just soaking up each and every moment for the gift it is.

Every moment is a teaching moment.

Are you listening to the teacher?

Luke 6:12-16

He went out to the mountain to pray, and spent all nite in prayer to God.

Jesus prayed alone the entire nite before appointing the twelve apostles to follow Him.

Not a bad plan of action before making a big decision.

Do we do this? Do we take seriously the success model of the One whom we say we follow? Who is our teacher? Are you really His apprentice?

Do you think YHWH actually helped Jesus choose who the apostles would be? Or do you think Jesus did this out of a sense of duty? Did He do this merely because He thought it was what He should do? Was this a ritualistic utterance that was expected of Him, but He really did the choosing on His own power and wisdom? Or was the power and wisdom He prayed for literally granted to Him?

Do you believe Jesus is a real person? A real person you can talk to and hear from? Do you believe that He actually gives you “advice” and guidance?

Have you ever prayed all nite for anything?

Have you ever received a specific thing you’ve prayed for?

Have you ever prayed for the same thing for thirty days in a row?