Scripture reading for November 2nd: Jeremiah 34-36, James 3
Key Scriptures: James 3:6-9 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”
James, pastor of the Jerusalem church and half-brother of Jesus Christ, loved to give practical wisdom to God’s people. He cautioned them concerning the tongue. Our speech gets us into trouble with God and others. We cannot tame the tongue ourselves. Only God by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to speak righteously and obey Him.
Jeremiah 35: 15 “I (God) have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying “Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers. But you did not incline your ear or listen to Me.”
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for using my tongue to do evil and harm others. Help me to listen to You and live by faith in every Word. Amen.
Scripture reading for March 16th: Luke 10
Key scriptures for over-comers: Luke 10:39-42 “”. . He (Jesus) came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Life in our culture is busy! There are many distractions that cause distress and worry. In the church, we go from one event to another and the pastor is always preparing for something urgent and for the upcoming ‘urgents’ that will soon be upon him. In the home and family, families are busy and meals come three times a day and cleaning is never done permanently! In business, deadlines and pressure push management and workers with lots of distractions. Jesus is aware of the ‘urgent’ we all face daily!
This short story and Jesus’ response to Martha should speak to all of us about our choices. We may still have to do those ‘urgent’ things, but the better choice is to sit for a time at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him. Listening to His wisdom puts the ‘urgent’ in its proper order and enables us to rest in His provision.
Observation for over-comers: To avoid being over-come by distractions and distress in a busy world, take time each day to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen! “Listen to my instruction and be wise: do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” (Proverbs 8:33-34)
Sunday February 23rd, 2014
Greetings in the Wonderful Name of Jesus Christ! What a wonderful day to gather with God’s people and worship our Lord! What a privilege to call on His Name in prayer, knowing that He has told us that we can ask Him for anything and He will do it! What exciting kingdom vision and understanding we will gain by faith as we listen to God’s Word! Our world will be changed as we gather to worship, pray and listen!
God bless you and your family! May the blessings of our Lord make you rich in faith to do His will on earth as it is in Heaven! In His Love, Pastor John
Scripture reading for July 4th: Proverbs 1-4
I have personally read Proverbs dozens of times over the last thirty years. For many years I read the entire book of Proverbs each month as a daily discipline. For the past 8 years, I have read the chapter of Proverbs for that day at the bi-weekly men’s accountability breakfast that I am a part of. Even though I have read or heard Proverbs many times, I am still impressed at how they speak freshly to us about our daily lives. Wisdom is a bubbling brook!
Hearing and listening can be two different things. Almost everyone can hear what is being said but listening in order to learn and apply truth is a different process requiring humility and a teachable spirit. As we begin the book of Proverbs, take a moment to check your hearing and listening abilities. Put your mind in a learning mode. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you new insights about successful living and decision making as well as who God is.
Solomon is the author of many of the proverbs. He was David’s son through his wife Bathsheba. Solomon was visited by God and given an opportunity to ask for anything he desired. He asked for wisdom to rule God’s people. God was pleased and the proverbs are some of the written record of the wisdom God blessed Solomon with. Solomon wanted to pass that wisdom on to his sons. These early chapters talk about the benefits of wisdom and how it may be found. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 1:7) There are those who either don’t want wisdom or are so enthralled with their own way that Solomon gives them names. Simple, fool, and mocker are the three names of those who refuse to listen and learn! (Proverbs 1:7, 22) Thankfully, those names are not descriptive of any of us!
Listening to wisdom has many blessings. It brings knowledge and discretion to the young as well as guidance. (Proverbs 1:4-5) It brings safety to those who listen and they have rest and no fear of harm. (Proverbs 1:33) A person who listens to wisdom understands the fear of the Lord and finds knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:5) Your soul will find joy and you will rest in God’s protection. You will be kept safe from wicked men who are on crooked paths leading to destruction. (Proverbs 2:12-15) You will also avoid the adulterous woman and her path that leads to death. (Proverbs 2:16-19) Listening and keeping wisdom brings long life and prosperity. (Proverbs 3:2) Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her and they will be richly blessed! (Proverbs 3:18)
Wisdom is to be prized above any other treasure. (Proverbs 3:13-15) We must lay hold of wisdom by taking hold of the words given by the Father. (Proverbs 4:1-5) We must prize it and faithfully esteem wisdom. We must hold onto instructions of wisdom and guard them. Wisdom is our life and health to our whole body! (Proverbs 4:22) Wisdom is to reside in our heart! (Proverbs 4:23) Wisdom sounds a lot like Jesus Christ, in whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! (Colossians 2:2-3)
Scripture reading for March 4: Joshua 6-8
Have you ever faced an impossible situation? My life has been a series of various impossible situations that God has brought me through and as I look back, I am amazed! One such situation was a crisis of debt in my personal life. My wife and I had started a farm business from scratch with the help of my father. We had borrowed a lot of money and found ourselves nearly $600,000 in debt in 1981. The farm economy took a turn for the worse and we had purchased land in 1979 for $2000 per acre. By 1982 it was only bringing $600! The interest rate went from six percent to sixteen percent! We were hurting and in a mess! I saw many farmers lose farms because of this crisis. We turned to the Lord in repentance for our bad decisions and asked for help. In seven years of following instructions, we were debt-free! That made us shout!
In our reading today, Joshua faced a tough, walled stronghold just inside the “promised land”. As he contemplated what to do, he met up with an interesting person. He was not sure who this person was at first, and asked him who’s side he was on. The answer “neither” is interesting. God is for all men but is working out His purposes to save as many as will respond! Joshua removed his shoes as sign of holy respect when asked by the Lord and listened for instructions. The battle plan for this stronghold included all the Israelites. They must march around the city each day for six days. (Joshua 6:2 -5) The Ark of God was to lead the procession with seven priests carrying trumpets. On the seventh day, they were to march around seven times and the priests were to blow the trumpets. As they completed the journey, there was to be a loud trumpet blast and a great shout by the people. God promised that the walls would fall! What strange instructions!
When they obeyed, God gave them the victory! He promises us this very same thing today. It is important to seek the Lord when facing a stronghold. Ask for wisdom! (James 1:5-8) Listen closely! Be strong and full of courage and act on what He says. Let God lead the way. You follow Him closely. When the trumpet sounds, shout the victory! The walls will fall! Note that God saved Rahab, the prostitute because of her obedience in gathering her family into the room in the wall and tying the red cord to the window! God is in the saving business and loves to give victory! Face whatever stronghold is in your life today with courage and confidence! The Lord will bless you with a victory!