Sword Fighting Class – What do We Delight In?

We are experiencing the power of God in a new way in our lives as we memorize Proverbs 2.  We go through our scripture every day while God actually does the work of writing in on our hearts.  Awesome!

“My child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God.Proverbs 2 1st page - this one

For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.  He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse.  Who leave straight paths to walk in dark ways,”

Amazing!  I’m finding it interesting to memorize these verses about wickedness.  God is bringing new awareness into my mind as these words roll around in it.  Here is the next verse:Proverbs 2 -13-3-11

Who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil.”

It always surprises me.  Someone I’m having a conversation with describes a behavior or a situation where they did something obviously wrong but they smile and look like they think it’s smart – they got ‘over’ or they were more clever than everyone else at cheating the system, or they didn’t get in ‘trouble’ for doing it so now they are bragging about it.

These are all dark paths and crooked ways.

That’s our world.  Our culture.  And it will be our thinking unless we let the truth of God lead us and transform us.

What do we delight in?  And rejoice in?

Please open our eyes, dear Father, to our own behaviors and thoughts.  Shine your light and help us turn from any darkness on our journey towards your truth.  We love you!

Audio file of Proverbs 2:

Know How to Blush

Conflict.

Unresolved issues.

Things that are going on that are just plain wrong.July 28 2015 Know how to blush

God tells us in Jeremiah 8 to not ignore these things.   There were many issues at this time that the leaders needed to address.

But they looked the other way and acted like these were not serious problems.  They called it ‘peace’ when there really was no peace.

This way they could avoid having to confront any of the behaviors going on.  They ignored it all, acting like it wasn’t anything big.  As a result, they didn’t have to face the shame they should have been feeling.

Do we ever do this?

Avoid the issue?

Act like it isn’t a big thing?

Say something is ok when it really isn’t ok?

Ignore the problem so we don’t have to deal with the shame of our behavior?

God said, “They do not even know how to blush.” (vs 12)

There was no shame.

No turning to God for help in getting their problems solved.

No repentance.

As a result, no renewal.

No fresh wind of God’s spirit.

Only a false peace which was leading them down a path to punishment for their sins.

And they didn’t even know how to blush.

Please open our eyes, Abba Father.

We Are Vulnerable

When our lives are not anchored daily on the Rock who is the God of our salvation, we are vulnerable….

to anything and everything.July 22 2015 we are vulnerable

I love how Nahum describes this in his 3rd chapter – “The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies.” (vs 13).

If we don’t have God protecting us and shielding us every day, we are wide open to whatever the Evil One wants to throw at us.

Whatever we think will keep us secure – if it’s not God – it will fail when it is shaken.

Whatever we put our trust in – if it’s not God – we’re in trouble.

Our jobs can disappear tomorrow.

Our bank accounts can disappear tomorrow.

Our health can disappear tomorrow.

Our possessions can disappear tomorrow.

Nahum tells us to ‘Look at your troops – they are all weaklings,” (vs 13).

We are weak and vulnerable when we aren’t walking hand in hand with God.

So Nahum challenges us – ‘get your act together’. (my version of vs 14).

Draw close to the Living Water.

Strengthen your spiritual disciplines of reading and meditating on God’s Word, regular participation in worship and prayers.

Do the hard work of forgiving others and repairing relationships.

Or “the fire will consume you; the sword will cut you down – they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.” (vs 15).

Nahum reminds us that our security is in God – nothing else.

Nahum tells us the truth – that all of the ‘things’ we put our security in will ‘fly away’ someday.

Only our relationship with God is secure.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Sword Fighting Class – Walk in the Light

As we go over and over the words of Proverbs 2, we are realizing that a supernatural thing is happening.  God is writing his words onto our minds and into our hearts!

We used to say that the reason we didn’t memorize scripture was that we didn’t have a very good memory.  Well, we still don’t have a great memory – except when it comes to scripture.  We’ve got whole chapters of the Bible memorized!  Because God is faithfully doing it. We’re doing our part and he is doing the amazing part that we can’t do.Proverbs 2 1st page - this one

God is blessing our obedience to the words he used as he started out Proverbs 2:

My child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.  He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair, every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you.  Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose ways are perverse.”

Great job!  Here’s the next verse:

“Who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,”

Jesus is the light of the world.  He brought light into a dark and broken world.

When we choose to think and act like Jesus wants us to, we are walking in the light.

When we choose to rebel and disobey, we are choosing to walk a dark and crooked path.Proverbs 2 -13-3-11

This path just leads us farther and farther away from the light.

The Good News is Jesus will always accept us back.  We just need to repent and turn  around.  We must choose to come back into the light.  Get back on the straight path.

This is the path God has prepared in advance for us through his love and grace.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Audio file of Proverbs 2:

 

People the Lord Has Blessed

They will be called Oaks of Righteousness.July 20 2015 oaks 1

A planting of the Lord.

A display of his splendor. (vs 3)

I want to be an Oak of Righteousness.  A planting of the Lord.

May my life display even a tiny portion of his splendor!

God points out to us in Isaiah 61 the things that are keeping his Oaks of Righteousness busy.  As I read this, it relates directly to our culture today.

Have you noticed the ruins of our moral structure?

It’s hard to miss the devastation of healthy, strong family foundations.

God’s Oaks of Righteousness are leading the way in rebuilding these ruins within their own sphere of influence.  They are so dedicated to God’s work that they have taken their focus off of a lot of things that distract us every day so they pay more attention to the work God has given them.

God is calling each one of us to rise up and be this Oak within our piece of the ruins.July 20 2015 oaks 2

Yes – we can point fingers at politicians and lawmakers.  That’s the easy way out.

Sure – we can get upset.  We can say all kinds of things about how bad our culture has become.

But what part of this do we own?

And what are we doing about it?

How often are we praying about it?

As we obey, we become this solid planting of the Lord with our roots sunk deep into His truth.  God hates wrong-doing and injustice.  He righteously fights these battles using us when we are in line with him.

God promises that our obedience will bring us double portions of his blessing and everlasting joy.    He extends these blessings to our children (awesome) and tells us that we will be acknowledged as ‘the people the Lord has blessed’. (vs 9).

Amen, let it be so, Abba Father.

Look UP!

He is omnipotent.

He is the creator of all things.

He is the only uncreated One.

He is more glorious than our eyes can envision.July 18 b 2015 look up 1

He is perfect.

In Isaiah 55, God tells us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”

For some people, the fact that they can’t totally understand God stops them from taking the next step into a relationship with him.  But I’m glad I can’t understand everything about God.  We only have 3.5 pound brains.  If we could understand everything about God, he wouldn’t be God.

The fact that we discuss and we wonder and we debate and we change our minds about God is reassuring to me.  Because he is bigger than anything we can imagine.

He is unfathomable.

And that makes him Holy, Holy, Holy God!

God tells us ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’

Look up!

Where does the sky stop?

Our God is a huge, fantastic God who has chosen, for some reason, to have a personal relationship with us…

with me….

with you.

God tells us, “My word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”July 18 2 2015 look up

Do you  feel it?

As we read and meditate on God’s word, the power of the Holy Spirit grows within us.  He interprets these words for us so we can better understand God.  As we come to know God better, we can hear him and follow him more closely.  As we diligently read and memorize and cherish God’s word to us, more of God’s wisdom becomes etched upon our hearts, renewing our minds and fulfilling the purpose God had went he said them.

So look up!  A huge and holy God is reaching out his hand full of love and grace and truth.

Thank you, Abba Father, for how incomprehensible you are!  We don’t need to understand everything about you because you are God, we are not.  We believe that your son, Jesus, paid the price for our sins so that, when we accept his grace, we are saved from being separated from you forever by our sin and rebellion.  Now we are in an eternal relationship with you which has already started and will continue on after we leave this earth.  We love you!  In the redeeming name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

What Are You Looking For?

Are you looking for peace in your life?

Are you searching for a purpose?July 18 a 2015 what are you looking for

Are you wanting more joy in your life?

Do you desire to make a difference in this world?

Do you have a broken part of you that needs fixing?

Do you have a piece of you that is lost and needs to be found?

Are you  desperately looking for someone who will love you?  Real love?  Not the kind that fades away and is gone?

A genuine relationship with God can give us all of these things.

In Isaiah 55, God tells us to come to him when we are thirsty for anything.  He can give it all to us at no charge.

God points out that we spend a lot of money  buying things that don’t fill our needs.  We work very hard in order to get these things but they don’t satisfy us.

If we listen to God, we will not only have what is good for us but we will ‘delight in the richest of fare’. (vs 2)

‘The richest of fare’ – unconditional love, God’s purpose for creating us, joy, peace, wholeness and grace.

When we go to God with our wants and desires, we will find everything we’re looking for – and much more.

We will be delighted!   :)

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

A New Thing….

It springs up!

Don’t you see it?July 14 2015 a new thing

I like doing new things.

Going new places.

New experiences.

New thoughts.

One of the zillion things I love about our God is he is always doing something new.

Isaiah tells us in his 43rd chapter to forget the former things.  Don’t dwell on the past.

I find it interesting this comes right after he reminds us how God divided the mighty Red Sea so the Israelites could escape slavery.   Then God ‘extinguished’ the Egyptian army by releasing the waters over them.

Now Isaiah tells us not to dwell on the past but to look forward to the new things God is doing.

It’s good for us to remember God’s faithfulness in the past but we shouldn’t stay there.  God is here today.  And he’s doing something new.

He is making a way in the wilderness.

Does our current culture ever feel like a wilderness to you?

When you’re out in the world, away from your church family and your Christian friends, do you ever feel like you’re in a wasteland?  A place devoid of truth?  Lacking light?  Kind of gray?

I do.

But wait!

God says he is doing a new thing!

He is making a way for us in the wilderness.

He is providing living water for our souls.

And streams of refreshment and purpose for his chosen people –  Us!

We praise you, dear Father!

You are our living water!

Thank you for the new people, the new thoughts, and new opportunities you bring into our lives each day!

We love you!

Sword Fighting Class – Saved by Wisdom

We are memorizing Proverbs 2 together!  Good job!

‘My child, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God.Proverbs 2 1st page - this one

For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.  He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you.’

Yeah, God!  And we’re adding the next verse:

‘Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse.”

Wisdom will save us from those whose words are perverse.

I looked up the definition of perverse and was surprised to read that a couple of the definitions are being resistant to discipline or guidance.  Another one is being stubborn or contrary.

Wow!  I was wondering why God had me memorizing verses about wicked men and now I know.  Sometimes I need to be saved from myself!

What about you?

Thank you, dear Father, for the wisdom you are writing on tablet of our hearts as we memorize your word.  Open our eyes to our own behavior when we are stubborn and resistant to discipline.

Audio file of Proverbs 2:

 

Blessed

You are an everlasting God!

We praise you!  You created the earth and everything on it.

We know you don’t get tired, dear Father.

We know that we can never understand everything about you.July 12 2015 hope in the Lord

We know that you give us strength when we are weary.

We feel your power moving inside of us when we are weak.

Sometimes, we get worn out and we stumble and then we fall.

But our faith in you, Lord, gives us the ability to look forward to tomorrow – it’s going to be good because you are already there.

You give us the power to dream big dreams because everything is possible with you.

You give us the self-discipline to obey you even when it doesn’t make sense because we know you always want the best for us.

Blessed by you, we will run this race of faith with perseverence, not getting tired, never giving up.

Blessed by you, we will take our next step of faith and then the next one and then the next, into the future you have prepared for us.

Blessed by you.

Thank you, Abba Father.