Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wisdom Quest IV

Proverbs has been awesome!  It's been awesome to absorb the wisdom of God and it's been nice hearing that some of you have taken up this challenge too.

In Proverbs 25-31 there are a lot of great truths.  Here a just a few:

Proverbs 25:21-22 "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you."

Proverbs 26:11 "As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly."

Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another."

Proverbs 28:19 "He who works his land will have abundant food,
but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty."

Proverbs 29:20 "Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a foot than for him."

Proverbs 30:5 "Every word of God is flawless,
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him."

Proverbs 31 talks about a wife of noble character.

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

Men, look for this type of woman.  Women be this type of strong, noble woman.  Men, lets quit spreading the rumor that we want some floozy.  I don't, and I'm sure you don't, want some floozy.  Women, we might like to look at a floozy (we shouldn't want to, but we do), but know that we don't respect that kind of woman at all.

I want the type of wife that is described here.  I pray often for this type of woman to come into my life, and I hope that you do too.

So, read Proverbs.  Devour the words of God's wisdom because "Every word of God is flawless".  Live for God in His wisdom today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wisdom Quest III

I have now completed three weeks in my month through Proverbs.  Let me tell you that it has been awesome.  I recommend that all of you try this, just one chapter a day and you can read Proverbs in one month.

I want to highlight a few of the Proverbs that spoke to me this week:

1) Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."

It is great to have a good reputation.  What is your reputation?  Women, know that we men pay close attention to your reputation.  We want a woman that is respected.  What would people ask you to do?  Are there some things people wouldn't ask you to participate in because of who they know you are?

A reputation is an important thing that takes a long time to build and a moment to destroy.  Guard your reputation and earn a good name today.

2) Proverbs 18:24 "A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

How many Facebook friends do you have?  How many real friends do you have?  Don't surround yourself with acquaintances only; build a tight core group of friends or even just one friend that you know will be there for you.  Conversely, be that friend for someone.

However, know that in the end the "friend who sticks closer than a brother" is Jesus.  Only He can fullfil your deepest needs.

3) Proverbs 19:22a "What a man desires is unfailing love..."
Solomon is a wise man.  He hit the desire of mankind right on the head.  Of all the wishes that we have only one floats to the top... the desire for unfailing love.  We will search for it everywhere but will only find it in one place.  God is the only source for unfailing love.  He is the only one that will never disappoint.  To fill this desire seek God with all your heart, mind, strength and understanding.

This unfailing love is available.  As a boy at church said recently, "Hurry, supplies are unlimited!"

I beg you to give your life to the One who made the universe.  He is the One who will love you without end.

It's easy.
A) Admit you are a sinner who needs a savior.
B) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He lived a perfect life, was crucified, died, and was buried, the He was raised from the dead conquering sin and death, and He is seated now at the right hand of God.
C.) Commit your life to Him as your Lord and Master.

Let God fill your need for unfailing love today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spiritual Hunger... Location, Location, Location.

I normally don't do short posts but this is going to be a short post.

Sunday I got the opportunity to teach Sunday School from a book known as "The Purple Book".  The topic was spiritual hunger.

This chapter was a great one.  I got to look at much of Psalm 119 which is full of passages about spiritual hunger.  However, the chapter made me feel more inadequate than excited.  I mean, I want to be spiritually hungry.  But must of the time I'm not.

This is the Catch 22 I'm in, I want to desire.  Huh?  How is that possible?  I want to want to.  But that is exactly where I am.  I want to want to.  I desire to desire.  I hunger to be hungry.

In light of this I want to encourage you to read some of Psalm 119.

Also, I'll leave you with something my wise friend Harold said:

"If you want to be hungry go where the food smells good."

That seems like a simple fix.  Go where the food smells good.  Find a good Bible teaching church.  Get involved in an active Bible study.  Go to the Word itself.  Go where the food smells good and you are sure to get hungry.

So, desire to desire.  Go where the food smells good and get hungry for the sweet honey of God's Word today.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wisdom Quest II- Hold on to the Bar

I am continuing in the book of Proverbs and I would like to encourage you to take a look at this easy to read book.  My strategy has been a chapter a day and you can read the book in one month (thanks Pastor John).   While in the middle of reading Proverbs I was floored by an illustration I heard this morning from my friend Dean.

Dean and his wife are watching their grandkids this week, ages 5 and 10.  Now Dean was helping the 5-year-old in the tub.  The little guy was finished with his bath and began to get out.  As he rose out of the tub he didn't hold on to the safety bar attached to the wall.

 Dean said, "Hold on to the bar so you don't fall and get hurt."

The little guy snapped back, "I don't need to use the bar.  My dad never makes me do it!"

"You will use the bar so you don't get hurt and that's final." replied Dean.

Dean told me that he is sure that 99 times out of 100 this bar attached to the wall is unnecessary.  But why not use it?  See, Dean wasn't being mean by making his grandson use the bar; he was protecting him.

Isn't it the same with God and us?  God gives us proverbs and promises to hold on to.  He gives us boundaries to secure us.  Now, we could live life pretty well most of the time without these.  But God, like Dean, says, "Hold on to the freakin' bar!"

Dean loves his grandson and will be stern enough to keep his grandson safe.  God loves us and will be stern enough to keep His children safe.

So hold on to the bar.

Here are some bars to hold on to from Proverbs chapters 11-17...
Proverbs 11:7, Proverbs 12:25, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 15:30, Proverbs 16:3 and Proverbs 17:17.

Take a look at these Proverbs and hold on to the promises and truths of God today.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wisdom Quest I

I am reading a chapter in Proverbs every day this month.  I'd encourage you to do the same.  During this month I want to highlight some of my favorite verses from each chapter.  Feel free to comment with your favorites.

Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
Fear the Lord means to recognize that He knows more than we do.  When we recognize this we can begin to ask for wisdom.

Proverbs 2:16 "It (wisdom) will save you from the adulteress,
from the wayward wife with her seductive words."
Sin is seductive.  It looks good, but it is not.  Wisdom will save you from this.

Proverbs 3:34 "He (God) mocks proud mockers,
but gives grace to the humble."
Don't be proud, rather be humble.

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life."
Don't give your heart away on a whim.  It's that simple.

Proverbs 5:19 "A loving doe, a graceful deer,
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love."
Waiting for your wife/husband looks stupid to those around us, but God promises that it is worth it.  If we wait for the one He has for us we will "ever be captivated by her love."

Proverbs 6:19 "Six things the Lord hates..."
Read these six things and hate what the Lord hates.

Proverbs 7:27 "Her house (sin) is a highway to the grave,
leading down to the chambers of death."
Solomon is clear that sin is not worth it even if it looks that way from the outside.

Proverbs 8:13 "To fear the Lord is to hate evil,
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech."
Do you hate evil or just the consequences of evil?

Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Know God at all cost.

Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise."
When I get into trouble it is usually due to my mouth.  It is better to be thought as dumb than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

Take time to read in Proverbs today.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Christ's Authority in Matthew 28

Well, after 10 months I'm just about done with my study in the book of Matthew.  During this time it has been nice to become reacquainted with my Savior.  I mean, I have almost forgotten who He is and who He isn't.  Our culture has dumbed down Jesus.  He has been made less radical and powerful, but Matthew shows Him to be the powerful king that He is.

So, as we finish Matthew in chapter 28 we see Him get victory over the grave, but we also see Him give us a mission.  Our mission, if we choose to accept (which we have to if we are really Christians), is the Great Commission.

Matthew 28:18-20 "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.'"

Our mission is:
1) Make disciples not just converts.
2) Baptize them.
3) Teach them to obey Christ's commands.

Now we have to ask why Jesus can send us on this mission?  The answer sandwiches the mission and explains who Jesus is.

First reason.  "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."  Meaning, "I am the King of Kings".  When we go on this mission we are basically the town cryer shouting, "Hear ye, hear ye on authority of the King of Kings..."

Jesus can authorize this mission because He is the King.

Second reason.  "And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age."  Meaning, "I am your friend and I will ensure success of this mission."  When we go on this mission our friend Jesus comes with us.

Jesus can authorize this mission because He is going with us as our friend to ensure our success.

Choose this mission because Jesus is King and friend.  That's one of the dual natures of Christ.  He is 100% God and man and He is King and friend (Biblically I don't know if I can do the math on this one).  God is King, God is friend, serve your King with the help of your friend today.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Declaration of Dependence

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary of one man to dissolve the bands which have connected him to his self, and to reject the Powers of the earth, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that all men fall short of the glory of God, and that the wages of sin is death.  When any Form of Living instituted by Men becomes destructive to man he should abolish it and institute a new Life. laying its foundation on such powers that will provide life.

I, therefore, do declare that I am abolished from the Allegiance to the self and the Powers of the earth.  Not that I would be free and independent from all control, but rather that I would place my life in the hands of one who would fulfill my needs and provide me with life.

I declare dependence to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The foregoing Declaration was engrossed and signed by the following members:

Matt Ray

Declare your Dependence today.