November 30 / Proverbs 30-31 / Luke 17

Proverbs 30:5-6

All the speeches of God are refined; they are a shield with which to take refuge.

Don’t add to His words, or He will correct you and show you to be a liar.

There is ultimately only one place, one person, to go to for truth and protection.

Human beings on their own have nothing to contribute to God’s wisdom.  But, as Tozer advises us, “Listen to the person who listens to God.”  There is no wisdom or protection from the enemy apart from God.  The enemy has been defeated, by God, thru Jesus–not by us.  Alone against the devil and his forces we are powerless and resourceless.  But, the power of Jesus is made available to us all via the Holy Spirit.  We can call upon God and His word at any time and be sure the enemy must flee as we use it in faith.

But we, even Christians, have embraced therapy over mystery.

We still think we must do it all.  Try harder.  Work smarter.  Take a class on anger management.

But is God God or not?

Is His word powerful or is it useless?

Do we actually use it?

Just go to the source.  Take the more direct route to anger management–fill with God by seeking Him daily.  There will be no room left for anger because of how filled with His love for people you will be.

There is nothing to add to the word of God.  We may articulate it in more and more ways and speak of it inexhaustibly, due to its endless, infinite depth, but there is nothing we can possibly add.

We either embrace the mystery that is God, accepting Him fully for His transcendent greatness, kneeling in awe before Him in order to humbly rely on Him…or else we seek what the world has to offer for peace and fulfillment.

If you feel you need or have needed more than God to be happy and healthy, make sure you honestly ask yourself, “Have I sincerely given God the chance to heal me?”  “Have I ever listened to God with an open-minded receptive heart, empty of my own or the world’s conceptions of God?”  “Have I listened to God to speak for Himself?”

If you have, and God failed you, then we are in big trouble.

Luke 17:17-18

“There were ten of you healed weren’t there?”

“Where are the nine?”

“Is it really the case that the only one who had the decency to give God the glory was this foreigner?”

Acknowledge God for every good thing in your life, for it is all from Him.

Give Him the glory first and foremost, more than the person(s) who He ministered thru to you.

Everything good comes from above, every picture of grace and sacrifice and love, it’s Him.  -Theocracy

November 29 / Proverbs 29 / Luke 16


Proverbs 29:25

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting YHWH means safety.

It is interesting how people-pleasing tends to be so paralyzing.  The more we work to please others, in a manner looking ultimately to please ourselves, we end up losing our identity.  After a while, you don’t even know who you are any more.  You’ve spent so much time trying to make others happy, in order to bring what you think will be peace in your own life, that you don’t even understand what makes you happy or satisfied or fulfilled.

And therefore, people don’t really know you.  In a sense, you cannot be known, which we believe is one of the basic components of our humanity–being known.  We were made to be known and loved.  Think of how wonderful it is to have someone know you inside and out and accept you for who you are and love you for you.  Have you ever known anyone like this?

But what if we’ve built a wall of people-pleasing around ourselves so thick that we can no longer be known and accepted by anyone, for they cannot genuinely discern who it is to know or accept?  You no longer know who you are and neither do they.

But God knows you.

God accepts you.

God loves you.

Jesus frees us from the people-pleasing prison…if we let Him.  By letting Him in and spending time getting to know Him and allowing ourselves to be known by Him, He heals us.  And we see our people-pleasing in His light, for what it truly is–a desperate attempt at peace, fulfillment, and acceptance.  But looking to Jesus, who embraces us in all of our weakness and neediness, we realize we need only please One, the One who is easiest to please, for all he wants from us is to be close to us.

This is is why the practice of thinking about God more than any other person is so healing, conversing with Jesus more than anyone else throughout the day so life-giving.

If you’re into alliteration (or Dr. Seuss): prioritize purging of the paralyzing people-pleasing prison.

And do this through thinking about and talking with God more than people, so that you can think correctly about yourself and get to know who you really are.  You may even find that people enjoy being around you more and more because you are authentic, loving, and confident in who you are before God.

Luke 16:9

Use whatever worldly wealth you accumulate for kingdom purposes.  Use it toward gaining eternal friendships, however that may look.

What else is it good for, other than for self-serving reasons?

Wealth, being so attached to the world, tends to produce “worldly” responses by keeping one’s focus on this age and on self, not on the age to come and God. -Darrell Bock

Money does not last.  So rather than rely upon it, put it to beneficial and lasting use.

Thoreau wrote that a man is wealthy in proportion to the number of things he can afford to do without.

November 28 / Proverbs 28 / Luke 15


Proverbs 28:5

The evil do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
We do not need to preach about justice nearly as much as we need to preach about seeking God.
For those who truly seek God automatically have a heart for justice.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything you need to know. [John 14:26]
Luke 15:2
This fellow welcomes sinners! He even eats with them!”
I don’t see any examples in the Bible of trying to bring people who don’t believe in God or follow Jesus to church or synagogue.
Reaching out to sinners was done outside of that, relationally.
And this makes sense since the gatherings were for believers, for people who had already experienced a conversion of heart and, therefore, desired to be among the people of God to worship and learn more of the Christ in whom they had placed their trust.
People who don’t believe and come to the gathering should either think it’s a bunch of weirdos, or else (in the modern day evangelical experience at least) they might think it’s a pretty good concert and light show. Either way, it is not the conviction of the Holy Spirit of Jesus, which is what we really hope for.
Isn’t it?
Isn’t it just the easy way out of sacrificially pouring into someone to simply invite them to church in order for the Sunday program to do all the hard work?
That does not seem to be the way God set it up, or how Jesus taught us.
It is others encountering the risen Christ and His love flowing through us that brings people to Him.
We are hard wired for relationship, it’s just one of God’s laws of the universe.
I’m of course not saying that no one can come to Christ at a Sunday gathering, for He works in all sorts of ways.
And obviously it is good to hear the word of God preached and can convict hearts for it is quite powerful indeed.
Let’s just not be lazy. Let’s do the hard work of in-the-trenches relationship we are called to.
Who do you sense the Holy Spirit wants to witness to through you? Through your sitting and eating, through your listening ear, through your kindness in the midst of disagreement?

November 27 / Proverbs 27 / Luke 14

Proverbs 27:13

Don’t lend money to those who are wasting theirs.
Foolish lending is injustice to our families.
Proverbs 27:18
Nothing great comes without great effort.
However much you put in to the cultivation of anything, be it a garden or a relationship, that effort is largely what determines what you will reap from it.
It is those to whom we pay special attention, those who we study and accordingly care for, they are the ones with whom we will reap a close connection and bond with.
We will reap tremendous blessing for ourselves through this caring cultivation and deepening of love.
Do you care this way for anyone?
You think about them, pray for them, and act toward them in a way that affirms them?
Taking the time to really know someone is one of the most life-affirming and encouraging things we can possibly do.
To be known.
Luke 14:12-14
How do you treat others who have nothing to give you spiritually, emotionally, or physically?
This speaks volumes to your character.
One of the toughest aspects of working with homeless youth at Outreach, Inc. I found to be was ministering to teenagers who gave me little to no spiritual or emotional affirmation whatsoever.
But we don’t do that kind of work to feel good, or gain affirmation from people.
We do it because it is right and good and for the only affirmation that matters, that of our Maker, YHWH.
And as Proverbs tells us above, we will reap that close connection and bond, even with homeless youth, believe me. It just takes consistency and patience.  Affirmation does indeed come, but not immediately.
We perform for an audience of One.
Treat every single person you encounter as if they were Jesus in disguise, for in a sense, they are.

November 26 / Proverbs 26 / Luke 13


Proverbs 26:12

One of the worst problems you can have is not knowing you have a problem.


This is what we help each other with, in a gentle, loving way, seeking the ultimate good for other.

You need a mirror to know there is spinach (or basil) in your teeth.

Or you need a good friend who will actually tell you that there’s something in your teeth.

Or you need to practice healthy self-examination.

How else would you know?

You wouldn’t.

You’d just go on all day smiling as if you’re perfect while everyone else takes note of, and is affected by, your gross easy-to-do-something-about offense.  And the worst is when someone tells you and you don’t listen. You don’t want to hear it.  

This is what much of Proverbs is about.  

We say “Whatever, I’m fine!” and go around grinning like a green-toothed fool the rest of the day.  We’re so easily offended and hurt that we stay in a comfortable state of mediocrity, when we were made for so much more…to be so much more.  To grow, mature, create, and be a benefit to everyone around us.

But we’d rather insulate ourselves from feeling any pain.  And at what cost to ourselves and our family and friends?

Not until we look in the mirror do we see it.  And what is the mirror?  The perfect word of God.  The Holy Spirit.

When we are willing to listen, and genuinely take a look, that is when we will grow to new levels of being human.  Not looking at other people, but looking honestly at ourselves, bare before God.

Proverbs 26:13

Excuses are just self-justifications for laziness.

Few excuses are really legitimate.  Let’s be honest for a minute.  Over the years, for example, I’ve witnessed many people who are chronically late, not just a few minutes, we’re talking rudely late all the time.  This is the equivalent of taking a dump on other people’s schedules, assigning them the value of port-o-potty.

And the excuses, oh so priceless, like the one mentioned in this verse>>

“Oh, I heard a lion is on the loose in the streets so I played it safe and stayed inside for a few extra minutes.”

Don’t make excuses.  Don’t insult others.

Accept responsibility for your (infra)action, whatever it may be, that you were lazy and unthoughtful.  Admit it, and ask for forgiveness.

Luke 13:1-5

Human tragedies are not always divine judgements, and it is wrong for us to “play God” and pass judgement on such events.

Much more important than trying to discern why things happen, is making sure your heart is right before God.

Many of us fret so much over other people, that we neglect our own heart and its condition at a very high cost.  Wondering about other people and where they stand and why what is happening is happening serves to distract us away from our own soul-care that we all so desperately need–the all important soul-care of placing ourselves at Jesus’ feet and casting ourselves on Him and His perfect, eternal care.  This is not a self-absorbed narcissism, but is simply posturing yourself in such a way so as to receive Life from that which is Pure Love, and then overflowing God’s Love and healing onto the world as a result of that indwelling and filling.

Whenever you are tempted to judge why something terrible is happening, or why someone is not behaving as you desire, remember Jesus’s deeply penetrating words to Peter, “What does that have to do with you following Me?”

November 25 / Proverbs 25 / Luke 12


Proverbs 25:2

It is the glory of the Lord to conceal things.

I believe the truths of God to be simple yet profoundly deep and below the surface.  The “truths” of this world are more up front, easier to see, don’t require much effort in searching out.  As we often say, “Whatever something costs you, that’s exactly what it is worth to you.”

Yoda wisely told Luke that the dark side is not stronger, but “easier, quicker, more seductive.”  This is a good description of the world and its “answers” to life’s troubles.

When discouraged, getting plastered is easier, quicker, & more seductive.  When frustrated it is easier, quicker, and more seductive to turn to porn and/or give your body a release to temporarily feel better.  It is more effort, but worth it, to turn your heart to God in those hard moments and experience the reward of His presence, His peace that He promises & offers whenever we really go to Him from a sincere heart. A little extra effort and search will always prove worth the work.

The most common reason we do not return to joy from these tough moments is that we are not accustomed to stop and seek Immanuel-Shalom when we are upset, discouraged, or frustrated. We have not trained our brains to do this.  We have formed the life-robbing habit of taking the easier, quicker, more seductive path that keeps us in the cycle of frustration and dissonance.

Luke 12:4-5

Fear no person, only fear God, for He is the only one who really even has the power to do you any true harm-harm to your soul.

Jesus does not guarantee that he will protect one’s physical life; this is not prosperity theology.  God may require martyrdom of his disciples.  The premise of this remark is that God has sovereign care of life after earthly life.  Without such a view of care and justice, Jesus’ remarks make no sense.  

-Darrell Bock

In the Bible the word fear means more than fright; it’s any kind of awe and reverence that causes us to subject ourselves to something or someone else. Biblical counselor Ed Welch explains:

   “Fear” in the biblical sense…includes being afraid of someone, but it extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, worshipping other people, putting your trust in people, or needing people.  However you put it,…the fear of man can be summarized this way: We replace     God with people. Instead of a biblically guided fear of the Lord, we fear others.

-From What Are You Afraid Of? by David Jeremiah


























November 24 / Proverbs 24 / Luke 11

Proverbs 24:33-34

Just veer off one degree from the right path, and one day you will suddenly notice you have drifted far off the peaceful course of life and onto a course of destruction.

It starts with missing a gathering here and there, skipping time with God, reading the word less and less…next thing you know, you’re a mess.

There really is something about a disciplined life that goes a long way.

Luke 11:24-26

The danger of ridding yourself of something toxic without filling that space with God.

Even worse will be its return if it finds room left to inhabit that was not given to a new Tenant.

November 23 / Proverbs 23 / Luke 10


Proverbs 23:9

Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.

It is so tempting and easy, and pointless, to argue with people who have no intention of listening to you.

Luke 10:13-15

Some people we may think evil or immoral will actually receive less judgment than those who are seemingly pious, yet in their hearts, reject God thru Jesus.

It seems Jesus is saying that the more that is revealed to you, the more that is expected of you.  Or something like that.  The more of the truth of Christ you hear, the more opportunity you are given to turn to Him, and the more you reject Him and His offer…the worse it will be for you.

Perhaps here He is answering, to some degree at least, that very common question–“What about people on a remote island who have never heard the name ‘Jesus’?”

November 22 / Proverbs 22 / Luke 9

Proverbs 22:10

Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes too.  Quarrels and insults will disappear.

Just one troublemaker can wreck the unity of an entire family, group, or church.  As someone observed of our ministry, “The Ripple Effect is for everybody, but it’s not for anybody.”  Some are not ready to receive the Spirit.   Some are not ready to give to others. Some are not ready to surrender.  Some are not ready to be called out on their stuff or to pursue God with their whole self.  

I love the tension and mystery in this Michael Scott quote from The Office:

This is a place of welcoming, so you should just get the hell out of here!

Sometimes we need to say that in order to keep it a place of welcoming, I guess…

Luke 9:62

One needed to keep one’s eyes on the path of the plow to keep its furrow from becoming crooked.

Watching and praying on a daily, consistent basis is how we keep from veering off that one degree that will take us horrendously off course down the road.








November 21 / Proverbs 21 / Luke 8

Proverbs 21:21

Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.


A wise friend told me that life is about doing a few simple things consistently over a long period of time.

A long obedience in the same direction.


Do a couple of things everyday over the long haul, and you will reap wonderful benefits.


Read Scripture everyday.

Pray alone everyday.

Encourage someone everyday.

Check in with a spiritual partner everyday.

Thank God for three things everyday.

You know, things like that…


If you don’t program your mind, the world will gladly do it for you.

Luke 8:15

The seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who will hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a large harvest.

Cling to it.

Without clinging to God and His word for your source of strength, you will not produce a huge harvest.  Your spiritual influence on others is directly proportional to your measure of clinging to God.  Your quality of life is related to your level of surrender.

Cling to it.

Cling to Him.

Hear with a good heart.


Patiently produce.