Wednesday, February 28, 2007

confess and forsake

Proverbs 28

Honesty and obedience are highly esteemed in this chapter, but it is verse 13 that rings out to me today:
13 People who conceal their sins will not
prosper, but if they confess and turn from
them, they will receive mercy.
which reminds me of 1 John 1:9:

9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

You see, the theology of the cross is counter-intuitive to this world, because the instinct is to hide our sin (e.g., Adam and Eve), but it is through the humble act of confession and pleading for mercy that God breaks our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh (Ez. 11:19).

Heavenly Father, I confess to you that I am prideful and sinful. I am rebelious and dirty. Please forgive me and sanctify me; make me holy as You are holy. Lord, I want to honor you with my life - through honesty and obedience. Amen.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Works of Jesus

John 21
John wanted to record an accurate historical account of Christ's work, but he adds a disclaimer at the end of his book:

25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I
suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.

The point is simply this: you can not finitely define/describe/record an infinite entity. Christ's redemptive work is beyond our complete comprehension, which helps us remember that we are not deity but human.

Lord Jesus, please help me marvel at the wonders of your love. Help me be awestruck by your infinite qualities. Help me properly see who I am in you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your good work toward others. Amen.

Monday, February 26, 2007

purpose of John's writings

John 20 records the events following Christ's Resurrection. I was impressed that vs. 8-9 reveal that the disciples didn't realize Jesus would be raised to life, even though Christ told them this several times. Also, I appreciate Thomas's confession that Jesus is both Lord and God. But, perhaps the most poignant statement is John's comment in vs. 30-31:
30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the
ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him
you will have life by the power of his name.

I think this is a concise purpose statement that could be extended in general to the whole Bible.

Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God, the Messiah Who redeemed mankind from the penalty of eternal death to a righteous relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit. I put my Faith wholly in You, for you are the Rock of my Salvation. Amen.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

King of the Jews

John 19

As I read about Jesus's treatment before Pilate and the Jewish leaders' antagonizing, I am reminded that He was in control the whole time. He willingly laid down His life; no scheme of man or evil did triumph over my Lord. No, it was God's perfect plan that He shed His own blood for my soul - the Life of the Creator substituted for the Death of the creation. And now, my response - that I trade my life for His atoning Death. I don't think you can read the Passion account with all of the fulfilled prophecies and not remember Isaiah 53. (As I am writing this, I heard a song on the radio by David Nasser called "By His Wounds," which is directly from Isaiah 53, followed by a song by Michael W. Smith called "Lord Have Mercy.") It is so powerful to know that it was planned and that Christ completely obeyed the Father.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the suffering you experienced, and thank you for giving your life as a ransoming sacrifice for mine. I echo the words, "Lord have Mercy on me." I trust you, Christ Jesus, with my life and eternal salvation. I pray that you will continue to make me wholly thine. Amen.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

betrayal and Identity

John 18
A subtlety was revealed to me this morning: verse 4 discloses that Jesus was fully aware of all that was about to occur in the garden (btw - isn't it interesting that here lies another Betrayal in a Garden?), so he asks the arriving mob whom they seek, to which they reply, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus declares, "I AM," and "they drew back and fell to the ground." Jesus declared himself the same identity as the Covenant God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt, and the people were knocked over by the intense power of the Truth. (In my mind, I see it similar to a scene from the end of the first Matrix movie when Neo goes back into the Matrix and flexes in front of the sentinels and the walls bow out to accommodate his non-linear existence.) Indeed, the most fundamental identity words of the God-Man are so intense that the creation shutters.

Lord Jesus, help me know You. Please reveal to me your character and heart. Change the desires of my heart to match yours. Amen.

Friday, February 23, 2007


John 17
Jesus begins His prayer to the Father, and then speaking about the Father, He defines ETERNAL LIFE, "...He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth."

In the remainder of the prayer, I see three emphases of unity:
1) Christ's unity with the Father
2) Our unity with God the Trinity
3) Our unity with all Believers

Question: Are the many Christian denominations consistent with Christ's emphasis on unity? Do denominations glorify Christ? Clearly scripture teaches us to reject false doctrines, but what threshold concentration of heresy in someone's doctrine justifies forming a new church or denomination?

Lord Jesus, I praise you for your mysterious unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. I praise you that I can not understand the Trinity. Lord, help me be in unity with you, and help me abide in you as your words abide in me. Lord, help me be in unity with the Church, that I will fulfill my role in Your Body. Amen.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Objectives of Proverbs and the Holy Spirit

Proverbs 22
The purpose of proverbs is explained in verses 19 and 21:
17 Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. 18 For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips. 19 I am teaching you today— yes, you— so you will trust in the Lord. 20 I have written thirty sayings for you, filled with advice and knowledge. 21 In this way, you may know the truth and take an accurate report to those who sent you.

Proverbs' Objectives: trust in the Lord (Jesus); know the Truth (Jesus) and tell others about Him

John 16
How encouraging and reassuring that we have the Holy Spirit active in our lives:
8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more...
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.

Holy Spirit's Objectives: convict us of sin (not believing Christ Jesus); guide us into all Truth (Christ Jesus)

Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing the identity of your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord, thank you for the Holy Spirit guiding me. Please increase the rate of sanctification, that I may be made into the likeness of Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

obedience and love

John 15
First of all, I'm amazed at the similarity of structure and content between John 14 and 15; their almost identical. Here's the summary:
1. Jesus and the Father are ONE
2. Jesus is the only access to the Father
3. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, then you will obey Him. If you obey Jesus, you will remain in His love and the Father's love.
4. Jesus's command is to remain in Him (i.e., His love; He Is Love), obey Him, love others, and produce Fruit.
5. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit as a personal guide and counselor
6. The world hates Jesus and disobeys Him

So the take home message is: you must have a personal relationship with Jesus (by Grace, through Faith), and you must obey Him (which will be evidenced by Fruit and love).

Lord Jesus, help me abide/remain in You and Your Love. Help me obey you. Help me want to obey you. Help me love others. Give me the agape (eternal, perfect, complete, unconditional love) to give away. Help me love my wife to glorify You and the Father. Help me love those around me to glorify You and the Father. Thank you for being Immanuel ("God with us") through the Holy Spirit. Help me remember each moment that You are with me through the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


John 14
There are a couple of interesting points from this chapter that I just noticed. First, the context is Jesus with the disciples in the upper room just before the crucifixion, and this chapter begins just after Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him. Jesus reassures them that they all know where He is going and that they know the "way." I love Thomas's honest (but quite frank) vent and Jesus's reply:

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

I have quoted verse 6 many times, but now I know the context and it means so much more. I had always envisioned Jesus yelling verse 6 at a thronging mass of people, but it was spoken to a private dozen that supposedly should have known it already. Following this classic statement, Jesus explains that if you've seen Jesus, you've seen the Father. Another instance where Christ claims to be the Son of God.

The other main point I noticed is Christ's emphasis on obedience/works. Here is a sampling:
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments.
21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.
And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me.
I grew up in a church that emphasizes "Salvation by Grace through Faith," but sometimes I wonder if we don't take enough time to make the distinction between Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. I believe that Scripture clearly teaches that God is solely responsible for Justification. Sanctification, however, involves a mysterious/miraculous/supernatural combination of God's Will and the Believer's that is characterized by Fruit (good works) as we become more like Him. So the frictional question is: Does it sound like Jesus is talking about your life in the aforementioned verses?

Lord Jesus, thank you for redeeming my life and continuously revealing yourself to me. Please help me obey your commands and produce Fruit, to the Glory of the Father. I love you, Lord, and I want to obey you. Amen.

Monday, February 19, 2007


John 13
In a demonstration of humility and service, Jesus washed the disciples' feet. He concluded by saying:
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and
asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’
and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and
Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have
given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the
truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more
important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things,
God will bless you for doing them.

Lord Jesus, please teach me to be a servant. Please reveal the gifts of the Holy Spirit and show me how to use the gifts you've given me to your glory and to edify the Body of Christ. Amen.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


John 12
Jesus had become so popular from His previous miracles, especially raising Lazarus from the dead, that news of His travel plans preceeded His arrival. Thus, eager anticipation from believers and general crowd/spectator psychology culminated at the Triumphal Entry. What fascinates me in this passage is the central connection to SALVATION. Palm branches were directly associated with the Festival of Shelters, which was implemented to remind the Jews of the Lord saving them from Egypt. The word "hosanna" is a joyous expression/request that literally means, "Save Now!"

So it is quite clear, that Jesus's entrance to Jerusalem is clouded in atmosphere celebrating SALVATION.

Lord Jesus, I praise you for being the King of Israel. I bless you for coming in the name of the Lord to redeem us. Lord, I pray, "hosanna," asking you to save me from myself each day. Lord help me follow you and lead others to follow you. Amen.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


John 11
Jesus allowed Lazarus to die, so that He could raise him from the dead, so that He would receive glory and many would believe. Consequently, the Jewish religious leaders decided that Jesus must die. This seems really crazy to me because if I saw Someone raise another person from the dead, I would be awestruck. Instead, these wicked people hated him (fulfilling Isaiah 53). Furthermore, God spoke prophecy through their own wicked mouths (verses 49-52). But were they just robots doing what God wanted them to do so that Jesus would die for the sin of mankind (the story of Judas comes to mind as well)? If so, then how could God be angry with them? Or was there a choice? Is God so incredibly sovereign that He can control destiny simultaneously allowing our free-will choice?

Lord Jesus, thank you for bearing our sorrows and paying the penalty of death for our sin. Thank you for restoring our estranged relationship with the Father. Please help me live in gratitude to your Grace and Mercy. Amen.

Friday, February 16, 2007

God's Sovereignty

Proverbs 16
There are several verses in this chapter that speak directly to the total sovereignty of God, which I find extremely comforting:

1 We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.
...3 Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
4 The Lord has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for a day of
...9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
...33 We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

John 10
Jesus is the good shepherd and the true Son of God:
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
...36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37 Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. 38 But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”

Lord Jesus, thank you for being the Good Shepherd and knowing your sheep. Thank you for leading me along the path of righteousness according to your perfect Will for my life. Jesus, thank you for providing me access to the Father. Thank you for the comfort I receive from trusting that you are in control of everything. I praise you for your sovereignty. Amen.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

true sight

John 9
I love the "imagery" in this passage. Jesus heals a man that was born blind, and "sends" him to preach the Good News through his personal experience with Christ. First of all, I think Jesus's instructions for him to go wash in the "Sent Pool" is symbolic of baptism, and this illustrates that baptism is a critical step of obedience in Faith. After the man is healed, the Pharisees interrogate him, and he defends the sinless nature of Christ and Jesus's authority from God. This is a beautiful and simple testimony of God's mercy and grace when he says, "I can't explain how this happened because that's what miracles are - unexplainable! All I know is, I was BORN BLIND, but Jesus healed me so that NOW I CAN SEE!" After the man's interview with the religious leaders, Jesus catches up with him and asks him if he believes in the Son of Man. This illustrates that this physical blind/sight business is just a picture of the more significant spiritual condition:

35 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see. (NLT)

Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing to me the identity of Christ Jesus. Thank you for authoring my Faith in Him. Lord, help me be a bold witness of your mercy and grace as this blind man was. Lord, help me lead others to a personal relationship with Christ Jesus through my words, actions, and lifestyle. Lord, please do not let me become religious and think that I know everything about you, but keep me humble and seeking your Truth. Amen.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


John 8
I have heard verse 32 quoted many times, but now I see the context:
31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my
teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the
truth will set you free." (NIV)

It seems to me that Jesus was not referring to the "truth" as an academic knowledge, but a practical obedience to His teaching. This reminds me of Romans 12:1-2:
1I call upon you, therefore, brethren, through the compassions of God, to
present your bodies a sacrifice -- living, sanctified, acceptable to God -- your
intelligent service;
2and be not conformed to this age, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, for your proving what [is] the will of
God -- the good, and acceptable, and perfect. (YLT)

I am also reminded of John 15:10:
10"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I
have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. (NASB)

Lord Jesus, help me obey your teaching and remain in your love. I want to prove that Your Will is perfect. Jesus, please be gracious to me for Your Name's sake.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Messianic Misconceptions

John 7
I am fascinated with the Pharisees and other religious leaders who claimed to know God (and the Scriptures) yet missed THE MESSIAH. I guess something that hindered their understanding was a collection of general misconceptions about Who the Christ is and what His purpose is. Even though they knew He would be born in Bethlehem of the line of David (John 7:40-43), they were real knuckleheads about this one (John 7:25-27):
25At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the
man they are trying to kill? 26Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not
saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the
27But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know
where he is from."

Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing to me the identity of your Son, Jesus the Christ. Lord, please remove all my misconceptions of Who you Are and what your Plan is. Please give me the Truth, for then I shall be free.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Worthy Wife

Proverbs 12
Yesterday evening, my wife and I had the opportunity to renew our marriage vows at church, so verse four resonated with me this morning: "A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones." Praise the Lord, for He has given me a "worthy wife." Worthy, in this case, does not modify me, but her; that is, I would be most foolish to think she is "worthy" of me and my love. No, she is worthy of praise from me because of her faithfulness, love, compassion, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, grace, tenderness, and beauty (i.e., her attributes that identify her with our Heavenly Father).

Lord Jesus, thank you for a "worthy wife" that seeks to demonstrate how the Church loves Christ. Thank you for your sanctifying work in her life, and for using our marriage to teach and grow us together in your image.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Proverbs 11
There are many verses in this chapter about the content/character of our speech (e.g., honesty, lying, gossiping, stirring up trouble, integrity, etc.). According to my interpretation, 11 verses(approximately one-third of the chapter) deal with speech. I think the concepts are simply generalized in verse 19: "Godly people find life; evil people find death."

Luke 16
Verses 9-13 are self-explanatory:
9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make
friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to
an eternal home.
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in
large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with
greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth,
who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not
faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of
your own?
13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and
love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot
serve both God and money.”

Lord Jesus, please help me be conscious of my speech and only say things that glorify You. Please teach me to be a good steward of the resources you have placed in my charge. Help me be kingdom focused, and not selfish, in my spending.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Know Fear

Proverbs 10
Recently, one of my Brothers was explaining how there are basically two types of fear: a proper fear of the Lord because of Who He Is, and a crippling fear associated with selfish perspective which Satan uses to control us. Proverbs 10:27 and 24 illustrate these two cases, respectively:

27 Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
24 The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled; the hopes of the godly will be granted.

John 5
There were two short paragraphs that caught my attention and are self-explanatory:

24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.

Jesus Christ is the only name by which you may be saved. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one approaches the Father, except through a saving understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Salvation through your Son. Teach me to fear you as I should, and do not let me be deceived by the Devil, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I want to live in the Victorious Power of the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. Let me die to myself, take up my cross, and follow you daily that I may know this resurrection power and be found in Christ.

Friday, February 9, 2007


Proverbs 9
This chapter begins with an invitation to dine in Wisdom's perfect/complete home. I don't think it is too far of a stretch to see Christ's invitation to the banquet table in Heaven. Especially considering verse 6: "Leave your foolish ways behind, and begin to live; learn how to be wise."

John 4
Several years ago, I was challenging an atheist/agnostic colleague of mine with the Liar, Lunatic, or Lord argument, and she replied that Jesus never directly claimed to be the Messiah. Well, she was wrong. When Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well,
25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!

Lord Jesus, thank you for inviting us to be a part of your family. Thank you for showing your love to us. Thank you for making us Children of God. Thank you for the assurance that when we have Faith in You, we have Life. You are the Light by which we see!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Wisdom begs your hearing

Proverbs 8
This chapter is the proverbial Wisdom pleading for everyone to listen to her. I loosely interpret this as Christ calling sinners to repent and trust in Him for Salvation. I think it is summarized in the last couple of verses:
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
36 But those who miss me injure themselves.
All who hate me love death.”

John 3
I just love it when you read text in different places in scripture, and it addresses the same topic. So, to go along with the aforementioned text, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus when he says,
16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that
everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent
his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through

Then, at the end of the third chapter, John the Baptist is speaking about Jesus when he says,

36 "And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who
doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s
angry judgment.”

Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me from death and giving me Life in the Spirit through your Son Jesus Christ. Please grow in me the desire to share your love with those around me, that they too would repent and turn to Life.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

wisdom, fear, and the Word

Proverbs 7
This chapter is "another warning about immoral women," and I think one of the keys is in verses 4 and 5: "Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. Let them hold you back from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of an adulterous woman." Interpreting loosely: Love Christ like a brother and get Him to infuse His Mind into yours, which will hold you back from an affair because you will see adultery as the deception and death that it really is.

Along these lines, I was reading Psalm 36 this morning and was struck by verse 1: "Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God to restrain them." Thus, it is both our love and fear of the Lord that leads us to live Holy lives, enabled by His Grace.

John 2
Several things really stuck out to me. First, why does Jesus tell His mom, "My time has not yet come." and then immediately turn around and perform His first miracle? Also, Verse 11 indicates that the Disciples believed Jesus was the Messiah after His first miracle of turning water into wine. It also says in verse 22, "After he was raised from the dead, the disciples remembered that he had said ['Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.']. And they believed both Jesus and the Scriptures."

The second thing that bothers me is that John states twice that the disciples believed him, but then in Mark 6:52 (immediately after Christ walks on water) it states, "They still didn't understand the significance of the miracle of the multiplied loaves, for their hearts were hard and they did not believe." How can you believe when you see the first miracle of turning water into wine, but not believe after you see Jesus feed thousands of people and WALK ON WATER?! Then, after He was raised to life, they believed again. It is almost as if they believed, then questioned, then believed again. I suppose that is not so dissimilar from my Walk, after all.

Third, what strikes me as peculiar is that John spends the first 14 verses of chapter 1 explaining that Christ Jesus IS the Word. So why would he make a distinction in 2:22 between "Jesus and the Scriptures"?

Lord Jesus, thank you for sanctifying me and continually giving me your Mind. Lord, please teach me to fear you and hide your Word in my heart so that I won't sin against you. Lord Jesus, please help me believe you; grow my Faith. Lord, reveal yourself to me through the Word that I may know you, the one, true, living God.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

stuff God hates

Proverbs 6
I don't like starting with negative stuff, but verses 16-19 detail a list of things that the LORD hates, and that sounds pretty serious to me:
16 There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, 18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, 19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.

Now, it appears as though 3 of the 7 hated things involve speech (lying, false witness, discord). To emphasize the significance, 42.8% of the things God HATES involve improper use of speech. This makes me think that I should be VERY CAREFUL about what I say. Furthermore, I think the imagery is interesting in the other 4 hated things: eyes, hands, heart, and feet. I'm getting a picture of a whole person who is prideful, deceptive, malicious, evil, eager to sin, filthy, and argumentative. Praise the Lord that He has called me to be one of His own children and is changing me from this man listed in Proverbs 6 into a man that reflects His Person (Rom. 8:28-29)! It is only by His Grace and Mercy (Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 3:1-8)!

Lord Jesus, thank you for rescuing me from a life of destruction and calling me to be a child of God. Please mold me into your image that I may glorify your name and bless you, by your own perfect Grace and Mercy!

Monday, February 5, 2007

personal holiness

Proverbs 5
The whole chapter is devoted to the subject of sexual immorality. Basically, it is summarized by this sequence: sexual temptation is deceptive; it looks good, but it leads to death. On the other hand, verses 18-19 describe the Holy ideal:

"Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of
your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe... May you always be
captivated by her love."

Luke 24
This chapter begins with the Resurrection account, which is so exciting! How hopeful it is that He has conquered death! Christ is the firstborn of many brothers, and I am reminded of the passage:
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will
never die,
this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up
in victory. 55
O death, where is your victory? O death,
where is your sting?”
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin
its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our
Lord Jesus Christ.

Homepage Verse's verse of the day really spoke to me:

“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing
love.”- Psalm 33:4-5

Lord Jesus, please help me love my wife and grow my relationship with her that I would not even be tempted by the lures of sexual immorality. Lord, please help me live in your resurrection power! Help me focus on Who you are: right, true, faithful, righteous, just, and loving.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Wisdom is Christ

Proverbs 4
Wow, this is great stuff! Verses 4-9 are particularly amazing. In verse 4, I read "my father," as "my Father," which puts an interesting twist on the following verses. It is kind of like God the Father is pointing us to the Son. In verse 5, He encourages us to learn the Mind of Christ and never forget the Word of Life (i.e., Christ Himself, John 1:1-5, 1 John 1:1-3). Verse 6 promises that if you don't turn your back on Christ, He will protect and guard you (e.g., Philippians 4:6-7). As verse 7 instructs, having Faith in Christ and knowing Him is the most important thing in your life (John 14:6)! Verse 8 tells us that if you prize and embrace wisdom, wisdom will honor you (Matt. 10:32). And I love the promise in verse 9:

"[Wisdom] will place a lovely wreath on your head; [Wisdom] will present
you with a beautiful crown."

which reminds me of a couple of other verses (Psalm 149:4, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12).


Lord Jesus, teach me to seek you and love you with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength. Please reveal yourself to me that I may know you and abide in your love.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Christ is Life

Proverbs 3
My dad taught us verses 5-6 when we were children, and I have come to appreciate these verses very much:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own
understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which
path to take.

Another verse that jumped out at me today was verse 18: "Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly." Now, I thought the Tree of Life was locked up in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but here it says that "Wisdom is a tree of life..." I think this is interesting considering that Christ Jesus is the Wisdom of God. Hence, if A=B, and C=B, then C=A so that Christ Jesus is our tree of life when we embrace Him. Indeed, Salvation belongs to our God, and Life is granted by Grace, through Faith in Christ Jesus's complete obedience to the Will of the Father. Praise the Lord!

Luke 22
A couple of interesting points occurred to me this morning. Verse 3 is an abrupt statement, "Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot..." I have wondered several times about this idea of Judas being possessed by Satan. The thing I struggle with is, did God choose Judas to be the betrayer, or did Judas do something to lend himself to Satan's control? I guess this gets back to the classic question of predestination versus free-will, just in regard to unbelievers.

In verse 31, Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked to "sift him like wheat." But Jesus prayed that his faith would not fall. This is an encouraging example of Christ interceding on our behalf. However, it is the next statement that really got me: "So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers." Jesus knew Peter was going to blow it! I try to think of this conversation from Peter's perspective. "Satan's going to attack me, but Jesus prayed for me, so I'm invincible!" I wonder if Peter really listened to the remainder of the statement, or if it came hammering back into his mind after he denied Christ in verses 54-62. It is so promising that Christ already had a plan for Peter in spite of his failure. He already knew how he was going to use Peter to build up the Church.

Lord thank you for being our tree of Life; you are the source of Life - physically and spiritually. Lord I commit my life to you and ask you to lead me according to your will. Thank you that you intercede for me and have a plan for me in spite of my failures. Thank you for taking me back, again and again, and using me in your perfect and pleasing will. Please grow my relationship with you. Amen.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Wisdom is Christ

Proverbs 2
This is one of my favorite chapters in Proverbs because it extends the implications of Chapter 1. Verses 1-4 tell us how hard we should be searching for wisdom, and verses 5-8 explain what happens when we do. I think the key is in verse 5: "Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God." I believe the Christian life is characterized by an intimate/personal relationship with God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), and here Proverbs 2 explains that if you search diligently for wisdom (i.e., the Mind of Christ), you will humbly fear Him (because Has the right to nullify your existence because of your spiritual insurrection) and accept the Son's sacrificial atonement for your sin (i.e., the only way to know God). Then, the remainder of the chapter explains, consequently, how you will LIVE. Specifically, you will have good spiritual discernment, make wise choices and be safe, stay away from the ways of the wicked, and avoid sexual sin. You will "stay on the path of the righteous" and live in the land God has promised (i.e., you will live out his "good, pleasing, and perfect will").

Luke 21
The first few verses are about a widow who gives an offering at the temple worth only a few cents, but Christ compliments her gift because it was all she had. I speculate how many people gave very large gifts (and some of them may have even been a large proportion of their income), but Christ was not impressed with those people because of the condition of their heart. Christ was pleased with this widow's gift because she gave up herself entirely to the Lord's Salvation. She had Faith that God would provide her every need. You see, Christ is concerned with the totality of our existence, not just a tenth. He wants ALL of me.
The remainder of the chapter is about the end times. Christ gives several details about how it will look before/when it happens. As Christ instructs, I pray that I don't have to be here when everything goes nuts.

Lord Jesus, I know that you are the Wisdom of God, and your ways and thoughts are perfect. Please give me the desire to search earnestly for wisdom. Lord, please reveal yourself to me, because I know you will show yourself to me when I search for you with all my heart. Help me search for you with all my heart. Help me love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Lord, teach me to walk in your ways and avoid every hint of immorality. Lord, lead me to Faith to trust you with my whole life that I will give you my ALL. I pray this in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Wisdom is Christ

Proverbs 1
The introduction of this chapter explains the purpose of these proverbs - that we become wise, fear the Lord, and obey Him. The second part of this chapter is a father encouraging his son (which I might also reflect on as The Father instructing me) to listen to wisdom and stay away from evil. The third part of this chapter is a personification of wisdom calling out to the general population to listen and obey. I recently made the connection of Wisdom to the Lord Jesus Christ, as explained in I Corinthians 1:18-31, particularly verse 24 which states:
"But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the
power of God and the wisdom of God."

You see, Christ Jesus is the wisdom of God, so remember that as you read Proverbs - Christ's mind is explained ALL OVER Proverbs!

Luke 20
The discussions in Luke 20 crack me up. The Pharisees and the Sadducees each come up with questions for Jesus trying to get Him to say something that they could use to bring charges against Him. As you know, there is NO ERROR in Christ, so they were dumbfounded by His PERFECT responses. Furthermore, He asks them a question that basically drives them to decide whether or not He is Who He says He is, and they bail out with the lame, "Duh, I don't know." response. Then, in verses 45-47, Jesus publicly humiliates the religious leaders for their hypocrisy. Another example that Jesus is less concerned about what you know, and more concerned about Who you Know and how you live your life to prove that you Know Him.

I was reminded of this analogy that Paul uses several times: reading your Bible and growing in knowledge of the Lord is like eating food, and doing good deeds and living out your faith is like exercising. So, make sure you are exercising, or you will get fat (the Pharisees were religiously fat).

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me Faith and calling me to follow you. Thank you for the privilege of knowing You. Please teach me your mind of Wisdom as I study Proverbs, and please teach me to live out my Faith with fear and trembling.