April 30 / Proverbs 30-31 / Mark 2


Proverbs 30:15-16

The leech has two daughters: “Give, give!” There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say”Enough!”

Sheol and a barren womb, a land that is not saturated with water, and fire that does not say “Enough!”

Why a leech?

Well, it sucks the blood of its host until seemingly overfull, and never seems to be satisfied. Interesting how even today we use the term “leech” to refer to someone who attaches themselves to a person in order to drain them of their resources.

The two daughters, Give and Give?

Scholarly scholars believe this refers to a leech’s suckers, admitting they have only one, but from a distance they appear to have two.

Then comes four examples of things never satisfied:

  1. Sheol–this refers to the grave with overtones of the underworld. It is an entity never satisfied for there is always room for one more dead person. It is insatiable.
  2. The barren womb–Having a child in OT times was of paramount importance, and a barren woman lamented deeply, and was insatiable since a child was all that would satisfy.
  3. A land not saturated with water–Palestine is a land where rainfall is minimal (unlike Indianapolis this morning). Rain on parched ground soaks up the available water and never seems to get enough.
  4. Fire–As long as there is combustible material, fire does not stop. Throw another log onto a raging fire, and it burns and burns.

So the examples in these verses all illustrate this principle of insatiable desire, and may have been intended to be used when confronting situations in which no matter how much is given, it will never be enough. This is just how some people are, which is draining to those around them. But as we know, they do not have to stay there.

Proverbs 31:26

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and covenantal instruction is on her lips.

The second part of this proverb praises the noble woman’s  speech which is characterized as “instruction” of hesed. Hesed is tough to translate into an English word which would capture the whole range of its meaning. This particular translation underlines the connection between this word and the covenant. The word itself does not mean covenant, but it characterizes the type of relationship that exists between covenant partners.

Other translations highlight “kindness” or “loyalty,” “faithfulness,” “goodness.” All appropriate, but “covenantal” is intended to cover them all, thus rendering a more full translation of this rich Hebrew word. It also safeguards against the idea that her words are just generally kind. They are kind by flowing from the covenant between God and His people.

Mark 2:2-4

A crowd gathered, with the result that people couldn’t even get near the door as He was telling them the message. A party arrived: four people carrying a paralyzed man, bringing him to Jesus. They couldn’t get thru to Him because of the crowd, so they opened up the roof above where He was. When they had dug thru it, they used ropes to let down the stretcher the paralyzed man was lying on.

Here is a great illustration of a hunger for God. Here is a real desire for Him and faith in what He can do. We do what we really want to do, and we let nothing stay in the way of it. And as we’ve said lately, Jesus can only work with desire, e.g. He could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. (As always, I defer to mystery as there have been many situations where YHWH called those who were not necessarily looking for Him, i.e. Paul the apostle. But you know what I mean here, I think.)

God is looking for those who seek Him, those who seek Him from their heart, not just their intellect. Think of playing hide & seek. What do you do as the seeker? You look hard for the person(s). You look under and behind things until you have found them, if you’re really playing at all.

There is God’s part, and there is our part. Belief is obviously a main ingredient for our part. There is the mystery of I have chosen you, you have not chosen Me.” I see desire, hunger, thirst that comes after belief, or regeneration of the heart by the Holy Spirit. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. A genuine hunger and thirst is sought to be satisfied. Here is our part, our following hard after God.

So along these lines, I’ve been thinking about Jesus Paid It All, and also that discipleship is costly. I love the paradoxes of God and Scripture. There’s no way around them. Embrace them or else be confounded into oblivion!

The picture I’ve had the past few days that is helping me is this: Let’s say the most amazing experience you can ever have here is climbing Mt. Everest. And let’s say the fee to scale it is an impossible 1 trillion dollars, an amount we are likely never to see ourselves, let alone ever earn. But some long-haired dude, who is the absolute nicest, most loving guy you’ve ever met, pays the entire fee for you. Apparently he’s loaded. So does that automatically put you on top of Mt. Everest? Of course not! You’ve got to train your fat booty off and put in considerable effort, at the cost of no longer eating donuts and sitting around watching tv for hours, so that you are in shape to get up that monster. But oh how worth it when you are there. How exciting the journey! I’ve been up only around 13,000 feet on a couple of my hiking trips, able to see about a hundred miles in every direction, and that was breathtakingly beyond words to describe the feeling and experience of being up there. The hard work involved to get my 200 pound extra large butt up there made it much sweeter than if I was dropped there by helicopter.

You get what I’m saying, Jesus paid our impossible entrance fee, for entrance into the presence of God which was not available to all people before Jesus tore that curtain in two. But it is up to us to take full advantage of what He purchased for us. It is worth every ounce of effort to go against this ridiculous, seemingly incompatible society to follow Jesus, to put Him first every day and fill ourselves with God and the things of God, crowding out all that is not God or of God. We are going against the stream that screams at us to stay busy doing so many things, some good, some valueless.

“The stream that screams.”

I like that. I’m gonna use that.

Let’s fight together to train for Everest. We can’t do it on our own. It is worth the sacrifice to experience the presence and goodness of God in a tangible way in this life, to experience shalom. But I do not believe we are carried to the top of the mountain. It does not appear to be God’s design. Thank God (literally) that He paid that entrance fee!*

I would like to share a text message I got yesterday from someone who gets this and asks good questions on seeking:

“Those who seek Me diligently find me”…This clearly states that there is a human responsibility to seek God before the blessing of His presence (right?) It’s not a “let go and let God” but there is a responsibility on our part, to do the will of God and run after Him (as hard as that can be at times) and in return, you will find Him.

Meaning the Holy Spirit will be so present in you? God won’t seem like a distant intangible being, but truly like a father?


Ok…so it’s kind of like God calling our bluff on a “raise my hand and say the prayer for an eternal safety net to be in place”…He will not be found in that. It’s a diligent hunt for God (Bible, prayer, meditation, fellowship, church, worship, obedience) in the meantime the knowledge of Him is grown intellectually but more importantly through the Holy Spirit, a language that fills in the (large) gaps left when you try and understand Him solely on an intellectual level. Love sprouts, He waters it. The love and faith grow and the unbelief and doubt dwindle until there is nothing but a full on love relationship?

*I realize that this is not a perfect analogy, but hope it is at least somewhat helpful in comprehending this mystery!


April 29 / Proverbs 29 / Mark 1


Mark 1:40-45

“Mind you don’t say anything to anyone!”

But the man went out and began to tell the news widely.

When you have been truly affected by Jesus, you cannot keep quiet about it. Something that has deeply and profoundly had an impact on you will inevitably touch others both in word and deed. You will not be the “nervous salesperson” trying to share your faith, scared of how you sound. You simply share something that has really happened to you that is as positive as positive can be. It will not be preaching in the sense, that for many, has a negative connotation. It is merely telling of what is true, resting in that seed to fall into the soil of someone’s heart, the Holy Spirit to work. It is more agenda-free when it is authentic and from the heart, resting in knowing what is true, knowing that has moved beyond believing, as they say.

If others don’t believe you or even like what you have to say, oh well. You know what is true and what has happened to you and where it came from. Keep being the light by following Jesus from your heart and then just being yourself.

As Tozer said, “The meek man has realized that the world will never see him as God sees him, and he has stopped caring.” He cares only what God thinks, and lets the rest think what they will.

Proverbs 29:15

Correction and punishment make children wise, but those left alone will disgrace their mother.

Do the world a favor and discipline your children.

I have interacted with undisciplined children many times, and it is the opposite of a blessing.

Freedom is not the absence of rules, but the presence of discipline.

Proverbs 29:19

Words alone cannot correct a servant, because even if they understand, they  won’t respond.

I wonder of this is a verse advocating the “success model” we always speak of. God made us relational. Words, especially on a page, are not enough. We must have goodness and wisdom modeled for us. We need to model it for others. We need God as well as each other.

[Tho I do defer to the mystery of the Holy Spirit Who can do whatever she wishes and however she wishes to do it.]

April 28 / Proverbs 28 / Matthew 28

walk in universe

Matthew 28:18-20

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me!”

One aspect of the resurrection of Jesus that I find so comforting is how it shows the reality that nothing can or will derail YHWH’s master plan. The world did its worst to Jesus. At that time, the Roman cross was the worst thing the world could inflict upon you to destroy you (from what I understand in my studying). It seems God was showing us the most terrible thing so that He could show us the most beautiful and greatest thing that could, and indeed would, come out of it on the other side. Same with the apostle Paul. I’m gonna take this anti-Christian jack-hole butt-head and turn Him into my great messenger, witness, and prolific writer of Me.

Nothing can derail God. Nothing can ultimately derail Love. The worst this world can do to us is turned into the tiniest bump in the road on God’s scale. (This is not to diminish its significance, i.e. the resurrection. This is also not meant to diminish human suffering either.)

So may we take some comfort today by viewing  our day-to-day always within the grand scheme of YHWH’s plan and Jesus’ ultimate authority that was given Him. Jesus is always with us. Remember this in our suffering. He is right there. Remember what He can and will do with that suffering.

The more we become like Him and want the same things He wants, the closer we will feel to Him. If God feels distant, it is because we are so dissimilar to Him, or because our desires are so off from His. People who are very close generally want the same things in life.

Proverbs 28:9

If you refuse to obey what you have been taught, your prayers will not be heard.

Proverbs 28:13

If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy.

Proverbs 28:23

Those who correct others will later be liked, more than those who give false praise.

May we be the gentle yet admonishing mirror for each other. As my good friend Rex Fisher once told me, “Don’t sacrifice Christ for ‘Nice.'”

Proverbs 28:25-26

A greedy person causes trouble, but the one who trusts YHWH will succeed. Those who trust in themselves are foolish, but those who live wisely will be kept safe.

April 27 / Proverbs 27 / Matthew 27


Proverbs 27:4

Anger is cruel and destroys like a flood, but no one can put up with jealousy!

Anger is awful. Truly. It does cruel things. But it can be cooled.

Jealousy, wanting desperately to possess what someone else has, envy of one’s prosperity, desire for revenge for an affront–this will kill you. It. Will. Kill. You. This does not cool, but must be surgically removed by the Spirit of God.

If you are harboring any jealousy right now, beware! Repent of it immediately, or else face its ugly consequences, which are much more cruel than mere human anger I suspect, for it is an eroding of your soul, an eating away of your very self.

Matthew 27:54

When the army officer [centurion] and the soldiers [those with Him] guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything else that happened, they were very frightened [filled with awe] and said, “He really was the Son of God!” [EXB]

This scene moves me greatly.

Do you ever want so badly for your life to show others that God is obviously with you and at work in you? That what is happening in and around you is unquestioningly beyond your power?

I do.

How do we get there?

I believe a major missing ingredient in many of us today is the removal of all hindrances to following Him. We have so many competitors with God in our lives that we do not have a clear signal. Even tho we follow Him, we leave obstructions in our lives that block His power to some degree or another. We love many things more than God, and it shows by our use of time and money.

What if we got serious and laser focused on God and shed all distractions and encumbrances? What do you think would happen? Anything? Clarity? Power? Healing?

Perhaps we do not have a clear transmission with Him because of all the crap we keep up with that will mean nothing in the new heavens and new earth….

The other missing ingredient I see is faith-filled, persistent prayer that is specific. See Luke 11:5-13.

April 26 / Proverbs 26 / Matthew 26

Matthew 26:12,31

When she poured this ointment on my body, you see, she did it to prepare me for my burial.

Then Jesus said to them, “You are all going to stumble tonite because of Me. This is what the Bible says, you see: I shall strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.

Scripture is extremely profound and filled with a measureless quality of deep, below-the-surface meaning. This is good reason it is to be studied, meditated upon, and memorized.

It is written by the Holy Spirit, therefore it is to be read on the spiritual level to be truly assimilated. Read it from the receptive heart, not just the logical mind.

The Holy Spirit teaches us via Scripture if we take the time and effort to allow Him to move in our hearts through it.

I absolutely love the Bible. I love reading it, studying it, memorizing it, meditating upon it. You will find no written word more powerful, for it is alive with the breath of God.

But, for the record, I love the person it points to even more.

Proverbs 26:1

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.

olaf beach

Snow never occurs in the summer in Palestine, and rain is an extremely rare event during the harvests of spring and summer. The Mediterranean climate of Syro-Palestine brings rain and cooler temperature during the winter months, and the rest of the year is dry, with only an occasional freak shower. Thus this statement is like many in ancient wisdom literature in which the fool is described as “unteachable” and dishonorable. As Ahiqar notes, there is no point in sending the bedouin to sea, for it is not his natural habitat.

-from The IVP Bible Background Commentary


This is what characterizes a fool. He does not have a teachable spirit. Fools are wise in their own eyes. They do not listen. This is what is most foolish, not lack of education, for that is only ignorance. Sure, you can be uneducated and foolish, but you can also be very educated and still a fool because even though you’ve gained much knowledge, you are paradoxically unteachable since you allow nothing to really sink in to your soul and transform you.

You merely know much from a distance.

Which is miles away from embracing truth.

April 25 / Proverbs 25 / Matthew 25


Matthew 25:14-30

He gave five talents to the first, two to the next, and one to the last–each according to his ability.

God assigns work and opportunity according to ability. We have been assigned our ministries according to the gifts and abilities God has given us. Each of us have been given a uniquely crafted gift by our Creator, and part of the fun of Christian life is discovering one’s unique gifting, and employing it in the service of others (really service to God first which will be service to others.) We therefore should not be overwhelmed in ministry, in life, but simply and faithfully serve those God has put in our lives, trusting He is at work in their hearts.

What is a talent anyway?

Well, in Jesus’ day, it was the greatest unit of accounting in Greek money–scholars say anywhere from six thousand to ten thousand denarii (depending on the region). You may remember that one denarius was a fair day’s wage (Mt.20:2). So even the servant who received “only” one talent, received approximately a whole lifetime’s wages from the very wealthy landowner. (We’ve all been given plenty, but quite honestly, differing amounts in some sense. Some have more to give, therefore, it’s not how much we give, but how we give–each according to their gifting.)

So we see the literal interpretation is money. A talent may also, metaphorically speaking, be thought of as time, though all are given the same amount each day last time I calculated. There is also the idea that a talent is any opportunity at all. This can include all the realities of work, family, play, community, and even interruptions. It can also be aptitude which is a helpful way of discovering one’s responsibility before God. Whatever a talent is, we can see from this parable that it is whatever the Lord gives now and will ask about later.

How are you using what God has given you, be it money, time, opportunity, or aptitude?

For Him? For others? For yourself?

Proverbs 25:6

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel;

For the smith to have silver that is usable for something great, he has to remove the impurities. This is just the way things work.

YHWH prunes us [Jn.15]. He does this in order that we can bear more fruit for Him. Bearing fruit, I believe, is simply doing good and giving God’s truth.

To be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, He removes the impurities that impede our growth and fruit-bearing. Yes, this can be painful. But the reward is greater than the pain. Always. I don’t see, from what I know of God, that He would painfully prune with little to no reward. It does not fit in with what the Bible tells us of Him.

Think of all the noise in our lives. We are in the process of simplifying our house [yard sale in June!]. I Love the book title: The Freedom of Simplicity. Possessions are just noise in our life. It’s more to think about, keep up with, worry about.

I always remember from my personal training days going to very large houses of people with many possessions, and noticing that not a week went by when there was not some repair person there, or landscaping workers, or something that was not working or needed tended to. And there was this constant low level stress it seemed of making sure everything was working as it should. And this all, of course, cost money which added to the stress. And I remember just thinking of the madness of it all. It hit me that the more you have the more that can break and frustrate you. I’m not picking on them, it was just an example, and Lord knows I have too much stuff myself. But finally, thankfully, it has lost its luster and is steadily leaving my hands and increasingly freed mind…

April 24 / Proverbs 24 / Matthew 24


Proverbs 24:11-12

If I know of evil being done to someone and ignore it, it is sin. I cannot ignore the oppressed people around me. We as Christ followers cannot just sit around and say, “Oh that really sucks for them over there” or “I didn’t know that was happening.”

YHWH knows our hearts. We must step in. It is His plan, as I understand it, for us (thru Him) to be healing to the world.

Of course, we must bear in mind that we are called to step in to whatever Christ calls us to and grants us the capacity for as opposed to getting involved in every cause we find on the internet, for that would be impossible, and absurd to even attempt. We are usually called to something, quite literally, right in front of us.

Good Samaritan stuff.

Matthew 24

No one knows when…..be ready.

This chapter, when read closely, reveals that its emphasis is more on warnings against false teaching and apocalyptic predictions, than it is about solving the biblical puzzle of the end times.

Getting into trying to predict end times stuff and discerning the meaning of everything in light of biblical prophecy is dangerous ground to tread.

Right off the bat, we see Jesus says that He Himself does not even know “that day and hour” (v36). Nor do the angels. But we, of course, are much smarter than Jesus. And the angels. Am I right? We can narrow the day and hour of His return down quite a bit, can’t we? The end must be soon because fill in the blank.

“Prophecy Belief”–the conviction that the course of history, and the sequence of events that will herald the end of the world, are foretold in the Bible.

This has become quite ridiculous in modern American culture if you ask me. And this chapter is more a warning against this than it is about end times predictions.*

Do you realize how many people for decades and decades have been using prophecy belief in the most various and stretching manners? Let me mention just a couple for fun. John Kennedy received 666 votes at the 1956 Democratic Convention, and “some expected Kennedy to rise from his coffin, fulfilling the prophecy in Revelation that the Beast would miraculously recover from a deadly head wound.” And perhaps my personal favorite to date, a quite clever person “calculated that if A is given the value 6; B, 12; C, 18, and so on, then one finds the following:

C=18, O=90, M=78, P=96, U=126, T=120, E=30, R=108=666!”

Finally I am vindicated that computers are, in fact, evil!!!

Anyway, this predictive ridiculosity and speculation is going on even today. And this kind of thing will continue in different and innovative fashions probably up to the actual end. So I guess somebody is bound to get lucky with their Nostradomic prediction!

But what’s the take away here?

Be careful not to get too caught up in “prophecy belief.” I’ve seen it, and rarely does it make one more loving toward their spouse, or more patient, or closer to YHWH. It usually makes them crazier and crazier, obsessed with decoding, and more difficult to be around.

Matthew 24 can be read more straightforwardly as Jesus simply saying, “It’s going to be rough being a Christian, but persevere, stay alert, don’t let anybody fool you with their predictions, and be ready, for I am coming to make things right.”

No one knows when…..

*Though this passage is not without predictions. Jesus did predict in verse 2 the coming destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem which took place about 40 years later in A.D. 70.


April 23 / Proverbs 23 / Matthew 23


Matthew 23:1-4

So you must do whatever they tell you, and keep it, but don’t do the things they do. You see, they talk but don’t do. -Jesus

Don’t ignore God or anything that is in His book just because it may be uttered by some hypocrite you don’t like or doesn’t practice what (s)he preaches. The evil one will easily lead you astray by this. Many have walked away because of this very thing, I’ve seen it.

But it is no excuse, for truth is truth. Someone else’s hypocrisy is no reason for your failure to follow God.

This is good reason to always keep our eyes on Jesus. As soon as we focus on people, especially ones who are poor examples of Christ, we are diverted from the One who is good.

Follow God and Him alone, no matter what many may do in His name.

Matthew 23:8-12

This passage is why I stay away from the word “leader” and shun honorific titles. There’s God and then everybody else. That’s it. We are all servants of Him. “Steward” is about the best word we can use in place of “leader” as it connotes service and responsibility.

Proverbs 23:7

Your thoughts determine your character.

If you’re always seeing the negative things in other people, then you are a negative, unloving person. [that sounded harsh]

If you are looking at the good and the potential in others, then you are a loving person.

Remember agape, looking at the precious jewel that is at the core of every single person.

Proverbs 23:9

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.

A comment I read on this verse stated, “Don’t waste your thoughts on those who don’t hunger for them.”

April 22 / Proverbs 22 / Matthew 22

spongebob reading

Proverbs 22:17-19

Listen carefully to the person who listens to God.

Memorize truth so it’s always ready to be used and poured forth.

The point of learning is to trust God.

The point of reading the Bible is transformation of your heart.

Proverbs 22:24-25

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

Take note of who you hang out with the most.

Are one of those people Jesus?

Matthew 22:16

Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach truthfully the way of God. You defer to no one, for You don’t show partiality.

Jesus was never afraid of what anybody thought of Him because He knew who He was in the Father. He let Papa YHWH define Him and say who He was, not people. He did not care how much human authority or influence anybody had since the Creator of them all said who they were and how much they could have.

We truly are all connected.

We are all made by the same Creator.

We will all “expire” in this life we know and continue into the next. So what really matters? One way I’ve heard it said that stuck with me was, “You’re dead a lot longer than your alive.” So live accordingly.

Do not live for the expectations of others, but rather perform for an audience of One. Then you will unintentionally please others because you will love them more without condition and see them more as God sees them. This is agape.

“The divine nod of approval is completely sufficient.” -Richard Foster

Matthew 22:29-46

“You are deceived because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.” -Jesus

If a study Bible came out with commentary by Jesus, I would spend every dime I have to buy it. He knows what every word means and is intended for. He knows the proper interpretation. This is why we must soak in it with Him, meditate upon it with Him, marinate in it with Him, [insert more sponge-quality words here…], because it is so deep and profound. We will never get it all in this lifetime, so why stop reading, studying, and meditating upon it while listening to Jesus?

Matthew 22:46

No one was able to answer Him at all, and from that day no one dared to question Him anymore.

How can you not love Jesus?

This chapter is MAJESTIC. Jesus of Nazareth is the MAN.

And He is with us.

He loves us.

What can people do to us?

Pour as much water on the wood as you want, He is still gonna light that sucker up!

Do to me what you will. Do your worst, nothing can separate me from Him.

April 21 / Proverbs 21 / Matthew 21


Proverbs 21:5

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

So yesterday I made a fire to burn the many accumulated branches in our, now formerly, hillbilly-looking yard. It was the first time in a long time I can remember that I actually took the time to set up the sticks, logs, and kindling correctly instead of my usual haphazard throwing down of burnables into an oxygen–starving randomness, and then lighting and lighting and lighting it until my forearms ached and fingers got tired wondering why this won’t burn!!! It’s ridiculous. It’s the definition of insanity-doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

But yesterday I slowed down and employed diligence. I maybe even grew up a little and matured before my eyes, if even a micron or two. And what was the result of taking the time to pile things intelligently? A beautiful long burning fire that started quickly and easily and was even glowing at 5:30 this morning when I looked out upon it. It felt good. Much like Han Solo, “sometimes I amaze myself,”–which is not so hard–but seriously, it is worth it to just slow down a bit, experience your experiences, doing nothing to just get it done or over with, and to simply enjoy the results of diligence, on any scale.

Now is the time when we connect the dots of the fire starting metaphor to our lives, including what we call our “spiritual” life, but I believe we are all sharp enough to draw the obvious conclusions here. Talk amongst yourselves.

Proverbs 21:21

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.

“Energy flows where direction goes,” they say.

Proverbs 21:25-26

The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

Proverbs 21:29

A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright gives thought to his ways.

Do you want to look good or be good?

Matthew 21:28-46

The kingdom of God is grasped with the heart and the spirit.

So Jesus spoke in stories. Understanding parables requires a receptive heart rather than a logical mind. This is why they obscure Jesus’s teachings for those whose heart is unwilling to listen. It is foolishness to those listening only with the mind.

The mind analyzes, the heart receives.

May we ask better and better questions, and tell greater and greater stories to get to the hearts of people. May we not look to appeal only to people’s intellectual ascent, but relationally attract them to Christ. At the same time, may we never stop proclaiming the gospel that penetrates the hearts.

The point of human history and existence is seen in Jesus Christ.