October 31 / Proverbs 31 / Mark 3


Proverbs 31:6-7

Lemuel’s mommy tells him to do something worthwhile with strong drink rather than indulge himself & become dull with it.
Apparently she instructs that strong drink is good to administer to those in pain, dying, suffering or in a deep melancholy.
It has good use for those truly in need to not feel pain or to forget for a bit how heavy-hearted they feel.
And obviously, it can and is easily abused.  If it comes even close to being an “answer” to our woes, we are headed for certain trouble.
Strong drink is meant to cheer and revive the spirits, and make glad the heart (as it does where there is need of it), NOT to burden and oppress the spirits, as it does where there is no real need of it. -Matthew Henry

Mark 3:2,5
People were watching to see if Jesus would heal him on the sabbath, so that they could frame a charge against him.
He was deeply upset at their hard-heartedness, and looked around at them angrily.
One thing we know for sure that upset Jesus is someone elevating rules above people.
This is crystal clear in the gospel accounts. In fact, they seem to make a special effort to portray this.
Having a heart set on keeping the letter of the law instead of a heart for loving people appears to be one thing that comes close to setting Jesus off.
Here’s the wisest, kindest, gentlest, humblest, most forgiving, unoffendable man to ever walk the earth, yet you care more about enforcing rules than loving people…even He is ready to go off on you!
Shouldn’t we, who are not perfect, err on the side of love?



October 30 / Proverbs 30 / Mark 2


Proverbs 30:10

Make it a resolution to never speak badly of anyone.
Never defame anyone.
This is a good resolution you will not regret.
Satan wants to steal our unity.

Mark 2:27
The Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath.
Jesus teaches us that a rest day without distraction is good for us, needed.
It is not about following rules of what you can or cannot do that day.
We all need a day to chill from all the crap & be laser focused on Him who loves us so much.
This recharges us, focuses us.
Do you do this?
If not, don’t say to yourself, “I should really do that.”
But rather ask yourself, “Why do I not do that?”
In that answer much will be revealed to you.


October 29 / Proverbs 29 / Mark 1


Mark 1:14-15

After John’s arrest, Jesus came into Galilee, announcing God’s gospel.
“The time is fulfilled! The kingdom of God is arriving! Repent, and believe the gospel!”
These two verses present four features which are also prominent in Isaiah 40-66:
1] The term gospel (good news)
2] The anticipation of a period of time
3] The kingdom of God
4] The need for repentance
1] Gospel, or “good news,” here designates Jesus’ message of the appearance of God’s kingdom, a message entailing liberty for those
    held captive to any form of affliction and demonstrated most dramatically in acts of healing.
2] In Isaiah 61 the servant, in addition to “preaching the good news,” is to “proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (note also Daniel 7:22).
3] The term “kingdom of God” signifies God’s sovereign, dynamic and eschatological rule. The Kingdom of God lay at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. As proclaimed by Jesus the kingdom of God had continuity with the Old Testament promise as well as with Jewish apocalyptic thinking, but differed from them in important respects. For example, it denoted God’s eternal rule rather than an earthly kingdom, its scope was universal rather than limited to the Jewish nation, and it was imminent and potentially present in him rather than a vague future hope, being inextricably connected with his own person and mission.
    Jesus took it from a narrow-minded nationalistic hope to a universal, spiritual order in which humankind could find the fulfillment of its ultimate desires for righteousness, justice, peace, happiness, freedom from sin and guilt, and a restored relationship to God- an order in which God was king. Given the fact that the basic human problem of sin and alienation from God is as true today as it ever has been, the message of the kingdom of God ought to have as great a relevance today as it ever had.
4] Repentance in the Gospels refers to the radical “turning away” from anything which hinders one’s wholehearted trust in God. As such, the notion of “turning to” God in love and obedience is most often included.

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint…
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.


October 28 / Proverbs 28 / Matthew 28


Matthew 28:11-15

It’s amazing how religion can harden your heart so intensely.

Some get to the point that they will not even believe and follow God Himself no matter what signs and evidences they see.

Jesus Himself could come down and say, “I want you to quit going to church every Sunday and instead start hanging out with me during that time.”  And some would respond with, “I can’t do that!  I have responsibilities at the church!  I’m suppose to and expected to be there every Sunday, man!”

These religious leaders were told this amazing eye-witness story by these guards–an earthquake, angel throwing the stone away, face like lightning–and their hard-hearted reaction was, “We gotta come up with a false story to tell everyone so people don’t believe this and  so that we don’t get in some sort of trouble.”

Seek the living, active God first and foremost everyday.

Do not let religion, tradition, or dogma blind you to seeing Jesus working in your life.

Look for Him and Him alone.

Proverbs 28:14

Blessed are those who are continually fearful, but may those whose hearts are hard fall into harm.

There is a healthy fear that leads to right action.  For example, fear of not paying the bills motivates the action to get your butt out of bed and get to work.

A healthy fear of YHWH hopefully motivates us to seek Him and then experience His greatness and love.  But the hard hearts in this verse seem related to complacency–a horrible, and dare we say, dangerous place to be.  For some, the only motivator out of sleep will be some sort of harm befalling them.

How many times do we hear from someone who had tragedy of some kind strike say, “It was the best thing to ever happen to me.”  Why? Because it woke them up out of the slumber of their complacency to the depth of life that has been there all along awaiting them to open up to and live in.

So may we keep before us always what is real, what is at stake in many ways, what really matters, and what price we pay for complacency–not least of which is not being fully alive to God and the deep, abundant life of shalom He has for us that transcends lightyears beyond Netflix, football, performance, and results-based people-pleasing.

October 27 / Proverbs 27 / Matthew 27


Proverbs 27:20

People will never stop wanting more than they have.

It is never enough.

Desires are never fully satisfied.

This is why gratitude and contentment with what you have is key to happiness.  And how this is possible is to find your satisfaction in God, in abiding in Him, in filling yourself more and more with Him and then experiencing the dullness of what were once shiny things.  And seeing the beauty and depth of what was once overlooked.

Perhaps what you need today is the relentless pursuit of less.

Matthew 27:39-44

The mocking of Jesus while He is painfully dying on the cross, on His way to fulfilling His mission.

The cosmic level of abandonment He must have endured at this time is incomprehensible to me.  Tho I do not understand the mystery of the cross, I do, somehow, feel a sense of the ultimate price being paid for me.  Someone supernaturally taking punishment for me, in my place, so I don’t have to, so that I can be free to live in appreciation and good standing.  Someone voluntarily experiencing all of the evil humankind can devise and inflict-all the murder, all the rape, all the hatred, all the betrayal-to be able to stand in solidarity with anyone in any age in any possible situation. And as a result, for no other reason than what we call grace, I am now worthy of God’s favor and have no need to worry about ever being separated from Him.

So how will you live?

Two words that keep surfacing for me lately are “Listen” and “Abide.”

October 26 / Proverbs 26 / Matthew 26


Proverbs 26:2

Curses will not harm someone who is innocent.  Curses that are undeserved never stick.

A.W. Tozer made a resolution to never defend himself, but rather to fully trust YHWH to defend him.

There is no need to defend yourself when your heart is right and your intentions pure.

Humbly risk being misunderstood for Christ.  Not only will you learn humility, but also to trust in our good King.

Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray so that you don’t get pulled down into the time of testing.  The spirit is eager, but the body is weak.

1) Consider the occasions and advantages your sin has taken to exert and put forth itself, and watch against them all.

Take note of when, where, and in what state you fall into repetitive sins–tired, alone, stressed, in a bar, online at nite–and avoid whatever you need to avoid.

If you sincerely want to kill your sin for good, you will take this step (tho not perfectly of course).  If you’re not actively crucifying your flesh, then you are making allowance, and it could be that you have no real desire to be done with it yet.

2) Rise mightily against the first actings and conceptions of your sin.

Don’t let it get the least ground.

Turn from it as soon as you realize what is happening, or else you’re pretty much screwed.  And over time, we are probably getting better and better at recognizing it early.

Don’t say, “I’ll give it this much allowance, but go no further.”

It is impossible to give bounds to sin.

Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.

-John Owen

3) Stop being surprised by your fundamental moral ambiguity.

That may sound odd at first, but it has been a paradigm-shifter for me this year, so let me explain.

At some point on this earthly journey we simply must accept the fact that we are, on some level, dualistic creatures living with a mixture of the propensity for both good and evil. In our flesh exists that seemingly constant pull to the dark side. Now I will be the first to tell you that as we grow in Christ, it does get better, we do grow stronger, and we recover more and more quickly. But we are fools to think temptation and the ability to do that which is awful ever goes away for good in this life. The world, the flesh, and the devil will always keep coming back for us, even after long periods of victory and freedom. Those are the times it really sucks, because we can’t comprehend how we can still “go there,” and we understandably feel defeat and shame.

So we must be vigilant.

But we must not be surprised.

It is when we are no longer surprised at still being tempted or at having awful thoughts of others, that we can see more clearly and recover more quickly.

I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to me to simply stop being surprised at my likeliness to sin. It’s a fairly easy attitude to adopt once you decide to do so. And it just changes completely the way you look at temptation. It takes the fear away. We always say it’s not wrong to be tempted, only giving in, yet we are bombarded with shame for feeling allured to that which is wrong, destructive, ugly. But what if we rob the enemy of the power of shame?

To simply say, “Yeah, I’d like to do that. So what. It’s tempting. That’s my flesh for ya. I know who I am though. Who I belong to. What I really am. What I really want.” And say this to Christ Himself.

Give your flesh permission to be tempted (not to give in of course) and feel the freedom, baby!

Until we arrive at the point of not being surprised by such moral reversals, we are not going to do much in the way of damage control.

-Michael Casey

October 25 / Proverbs 25 / Matthew 25


Proverbs 25:12

A wise warning to someone who will listen is of very great value.

We can give wise warnings, but if to the non-listening ear, it is a notch above pointless.  Always have your listener in mind.  Don’t speak just to hear yourself talk, or make yourself feel better.  Speak out of love to genuinely help the person in front of you.

Matthew 25:40,45

Whatever we do to or for the least significant person here on earth, we do to or for God Himself.  And whatever we don’t do to or for the least significant person here on earth, we don’t do to or for God Himself.

May this take away from us any judgment of any person based on value we assign them according to our own system of how important they are to us–how much they add to or detract from our feelings of significance.

Let this destroy our false perceptions that some people are not worthy of our time and full attention in the moment.

How we treat the most annoying person, or the person who can do nothing for us, this is exactly how we treat our King.

I remember once going to visit my kid in prison after going months without seeing him.  He was crushed when I did not visit him for such a long time.  And he was utterly elated when I walked in to see him after the layoff.  Why did I go so long without visiting?  Was it because it was so easy not to go?  Because I get nothing from him in return [or so I think]?


Oh God, I pray I have learned from You in this passage of Your word.

How I treat him, I treat You….Forgive me.  Thank You.

October 24 / Proverbs 24 / Matthew 24


Proverbs 24:26

An honest answer is as pleasing as a kiss on the lips.

Guess it depends on who is doing the kissing, but let’s take the lesson and simply be honest with each other.  Don’t hide behind a mask today.  Give honest answers to everyone and experience the freedom it brings.

Matthew 24:1-14

The beginnings of birth pangs of the rise of Christianity.  A birthing of the new age was upon them and the pains of birth would come with it.

The Temple would be destroyed in about 40 years signaling the new age that has dawned with no Temple needed because Jesus is our Temple now.  He is our Temple and Law.

It was going to be rough yet necessary, in death and resurrection fashion, to bring in this new age of the Messiah.  The age of Law and Temple was past.

October 23 / Proverbs 23 / Matthew 23


Proverbs 23:7

As he thinks in his heart, so is he.

We are that really, both to God and man, which we are inwardly; and neither religion nor friendship is worth anything further than is it is sincere.

~Matthew Henry

Who we are is the product of our thoughts.

Our character isa the sum total of our thoughts.

Good thinking yields good fruit.

Bad thinking yields bad fruit.

Wanna change your life?

Change your thinking-reprogram your mind-and your life will change. Guaranteed. This is surely why the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write about our thinking in Philippians 4 and Colossians 3.

People judge us by appearance, but God judges us by our hearts, our inner most thinking, as we see in I Samuel 16:7. This is either frightening or relieving for you.

God has granted to us the power of thought and free will which we can use to endlessly torment ourselves and reap the destruction thereof; or we can reap joy and abundance through the cultivation of right and good thinking within the garden of our mind. I read once that 1,400 is the number of words the average person has going through their mind per minute! “We are either strategically tortured by this mass of words or we learn to use them as a strong current that powerfully flows from God’s heart to ours.” In this sense, we are the “makers of ourselves,” but only due to the potential God has granted to us in His good and loving creation of us.

It is you who can and must decide the kind of day you will have, or else the world will be more than glad to do that for you.

Living each moment surrendered to God, thankful for all He brings, is key to happiness.

Matthew 23:25-28

First make the inside of the cup clean, and then the outside will be clean as well. 

On the outside you appear to be virtuous and law-abiding, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.


We constantly get the cart before the horse.

The wisest person who ever lived on earth says to FIRST make the inside clean.

THEN the outside will automatically be clean as well.

Pursue God from the depths of your heart. Seek Him with all your soul. Then through the promptings of the Holy Spirit, action will come (super)naturally.

Here is evidence, spoken by Jesus, that being trumps doing.

Someone sincerely seeking God with all his or her heart will naturally bear fruit. Fruit-bearing (doing good and offering truth and self) then need not be the focus, for how can one who is seeking God with all his or her heart not bear the fruit of it?  You simply seek God first, trust Him, abandon all outcomes to Him, and then do what comes naturally from that root. And what comes naturally at that point will be really, really good–because you are seeking the Source of all good. Rumor has it that God will even help you.

But someone who is focused on doing good works (external) may or may not be seeking God in his or her heart. You can still do good works without a thought of God or doing it for Him at all.

More than what we do, it’s why we do it, and who we do it for.


October 22 / Proverbs 22 / Matthew 22


Proverbs 22:17

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise; set your heart toward my knowledge.

The student is encouraged to approach the teacher’s instruction with a receptive attitude: “set your heart toward.”  One must be predisposed to wisdom in order to benefit from it.  -Tremper Longman III

What are you predisposed to today?

What have you set your heart toward this day?

Who have you determined to be today?

Proverbs 22:18

It will be good to keep these things in mind so that you are ready to repeat them.

It has been said that one learns most when teaching others. No doubt this is due, at least in part, to the preparation and assimilation that must take place in order to teach something well.  We may also say that one learns most from someone when truth is modeled.

Truth sinks into our innermost being thru its repetition, reminding, and memorization.  And thru the integration of it.

Again, we like Longman’s commentary here:

Verse 18 begins to give a motive for why students should be receptive to the teaching.  They will have good consequences if these sayings are internalized.  The term rendered “innermost being” in v.18 is literally “stomach.”  To guard them in your stomach is a picture of integrating them into the inmost part of a person’s being.  The integration of the teacher’s wisdom is prerequisite to its use in the student’s own life.  In other words, appropriation into students’ character is then followed by their own ability to express the wisdom: “Have them ready on your lips.”

This is what we do for each other daily.

Proverbs 22:19

So your trust will be in Yahweh, I will inform you, even you, today.

Verse 19 gives the theological motivation for the teaching of wisdom, the increase in trust in Yahweh.  This gives the teacher the urgency to impart instruction to the pupil.  It is not made explicit how the teaching will increase trust, and so we are left to speculate.  Perhaps the idea is that as the advice works in life, then it breeds confidence in its ultimate author.  Or perhaps it is calling on trust in Yahweh as the first step toward implementing the advice found here.  As one practices trust by following the advice, which may direct one in a not so obvious way (for instance, to be generous in order to grow more wealthy [11:24]), then one grows in trust as the unexpected consequences come.

-Tremper Longman III

Matthew 22:22,33,46

They were astonished.  No one was able to answer Him a word.

This chapter shows Jesus’ superior wisdom.  Listen to Him above all other humans.

These guys were playing “Stump the Messiah” and lost horribly.

Jesus was perfectly in tune with the Father while He walked the earth.  No one else was or is.  So listen first and foremost to Him via the Holy Spirit.

Only He has the words of life.