Previous month:
March 2015
Next month:
May 2015

April 2015

Proverbs 15

Surprise disneyland

Surprise! It’s time to go to Disneyland!

Scripture

Proverbs 15:30

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones.

Observation/Understanding

When I was growing up in my parents house, I always dreaded those moments my parents would tell me in a serious voice with a stern look in their eyes, “We need to talk.” My stomach would turn to knots, as I would try to think about what I did wrong or what I was going to be in trouble for. It was a whole different story if they would come into my room early in the morning and with a giddy smile and excitement in their eyes tell me, “Surprise! It’s time to get up because we’re going on vacation to Disneyland today!”

In both instances, before they said anything, I could tell by the look on their faces whether they had good or bad news. Before they would say anything I would either start to feel worried or start to feel happy and excited. As Solomon put it, “Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart.”

I believe that one of the biggest enemies to Christians sharing their faith is that they don’t really believe the gospel is ‘good news.’ For some reason many are unsure that people will be accepting of the news that God loves them and paved the way for them to be forgiven and to spend eternity with him. The news we have to share is by far the best news we could be assigned messengers of! Yet, many times we are afraid to share and if we do there’s no light in our eyes. We have the “We need to talk” look more than the “Surprise! It’s time to go to Disneyland!” look. If parents get excited to tell their kids about going to Disneyland for a day, shouldn't we be infinitely more excited to tell people about going to Heaven for eternity?! I don't think we should imitate the above cat picture because that would be super creepy. But there should be genuine excitement in our hearts and on our faces when we share the gospel.

Life Application

Share the gospel without hesitation, with light in your eyes, because it really is good news!

God, thank you for making us messengers of the best possible news! May we share it with boldness and excitement, knowing that it has the power to save and bring life to those who receive it! Amen.

Read the following verse out loud, with a smile on your face and excitement in your heart:

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…

Now let’s go share it!


Proverbs 14

Blah-01
 

Are You All Talk?

Scripture

Proverbs 14:23

All hard work brings a profit,
    but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Observation/Understanding

Those who serve in ministry at Desert Streams attend our 6:28 meeting each month. And at each meeting we fill out a self-evaluation, which is basically like a spiritual check up. It’s a series of questions that evaluate all your vital signs and the key areas that determine your spiritual health.

Can I be transparent with you this morning?

I was reading through my last two evaluations and felt pretty horrible when I got to the section on PII (Praying for, Investing in, and Inviting those who don’t yet know Christ).  I realized that I rarely prayed for the specific people I wrote on my PII card and for 2 months I hadn’t done really anything intentional to invest in their lives and I hadn’t invited one of them to come to church. What made seeing it especially difficult for me is that I pray prayers often like, “God, I’m desperate to bring people to come to know you!” and, “Use me to win lost souls!” And not only do I pray about it, but I tell others about how important it is biblically, how important it is to me personally and how important it should be to them. But when you look at my actions, at least the past two months, I've been mere talk. And that mere talk has led to poverty when it comes to seeing a harvest of souls. The obvious truth: If I’m going to see profit in any area, including people getting saved, I’m going to have to actually put in some hard work!

Life Application

Maybe for you it's not evangelism. Maybe it's another area. What things have you been merely talking about?

God forgive me for reducing something as important as evangelism to mere talk in my life. Today I choose to make a change. God, I commit to begin praying daily for the unbelievers on my PII card. As I do, provide me with opportunities to invest in their lives and to invite them to come into relationship with you and to visit DSC. Give me the strength and wisdom to work hard in this area and to see a harvest of souls as a result. Amen.


Proverbs 13

  Proverbs13

Diligence Makes All The Difference

Scripture

Proverbs 13:4

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
    but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Observation – What does it say?

The Message version puts it this way:

Indolence (habitual laziness) wants it all and gets nothing;
    the energetic have something to show for their lives.

The lazy person will always be left wanting, but the person who is hard working and persistent will have their desires fulfilled.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Everyone has desires. You have desires. I have desires. We have desires when it comes to every area of our lives. Financially we have desires to prosper. In our family life we desire to have good relationships. Physically we desire to be healthy and fit. Spiritually we desire genuine encounter with God.

This proverb tells us the key to having our desires satisfied: diligence. Hard work.

Isn’t it obvious when you think about it? “I want to be rich but I’m too lazy to show up to work on time." And, "I want to lose 10lbs but I’m too lazy to go to the gym or to control my eating.” We all know how that's going to work out.

Spiritually things work the same. Heaven, like life, will give you what you settle for. I have met a lot of people who struggle with their faith. They prayed a one-liner asking God to do something for them and he didn’t, so they now wrestle with doubt and unbelief. Describe anyone you know? This scripture, along with others like Jeremiah 29:13 – “You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” – tell me that their appetite for a God encounter isn’t being filled because they are lazy in their pursuit of God. Praying for a couple minutes and watching tv for a couple hours doesn't equal spiritual diligence. We will find God only when we seek him with all of our hearts.

Life Application

What areas of your life do you have unfulfilled desires?

What does it look like for you to be more diligent in pursuing them?

God, forgive me for blaming you or others when my desires aren’t satisfied.  In most areas it’s been my fault, the result of my own laziness. This scripture fills me with hope though, because at least now I can pinpoint the problem. Help me to work harder in every area of my life, especially in my relationship with you. I want to find you, to experience more of you, and to grow in every area. Give me the grace to be more diligent. Amen.


Proverbs 12

Proverbs 12:1  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

Yesterday we talked about Jesus being the Good Shepherd and that we the sheep.  We talked about the fact that sheep have some challenges…

  • They are dumb
  • They get lost easily
  • They are defenseless
  • They are stubborn
  • They are skittish
  • They get insecure easily 

 And most importantly we realized that sheep need a shepherd.

The Shepherd protects and guides the sheep and one of the ways that the shepherd protects and guide is by having to discipline the sheep at times.

Job 5:17-18 (NIV) 17  "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18  For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. 

Seems like an odd thing for our God to do to actually wound and then to bind up.  Except when you understand what loving shepherds would do for a little lamb that would continue to wander off. 

It was very common for a little lamb to leave the flock where he's vulnerable to wolves or to falling off a cliff or to getting in trouble.  And the loving good shepherd would take his rod and would crack the little lamb's leg.  Sounds very cruel.

But then what the good shepherd would do is, he would take that little lamb and put him up on his shoulder and take care of him and nurse him.  And the good shepherd would then keep the little lamb close to him.  

The lamb would grow up and he would be totally and completely dependent on the shepherd.  And the little lamb would learn the shepherd's voice, and the shepherd would pet him and bring him to the greatest places.

And over a lifetime, that little lamb would become almost like a pet to the shepherd because he's been so cared for by the shepherd.  And that one would never run off again because he learned to know the voice and trust the shepherd; it's the discipline of God.

Embrace God's discipline because it is good for us.  Whoever hates correction is stupid...don't be stupid!


Proverbs 11

SCRIPTURE:

Proverbs 11:2 -When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

OBSERVATION: What does it say?

In order to gain wisdom (aka Christ), we must be humble and teachable. Having a know it all attitude will only lead us away from Him.

UNDERSTANDING: What does it mean?

Pride comes before the fall. Pride leads to dishonorable actions. Why? Because if Christ is wisdom, pride keeps us away from Him. A prideful and self righteous person does not think they are sinners and therefore do not see their need for a risen Savior. Their hearts are not humbled and soft, but rather hardened. It takes a humble spirit to come into personal relationship with Jesus and choose to walk according to His ways. Pride and self righteousness will always be fighting against our need for Jesus. The Pharisees are a prime example of this.

LIFE APPLICATION:

I grew up in the church, but I did not accept Jesus' invitation for salvation until later in life. Some people have asked how that is possible if I was raised in that environment. It's easy...I didn't think I was a sinner. I didn't see my need for Jesus. I remember going through the 10 commandments in 9th grade and convincing myself that I had not broken any one of them. I was so deceived. When God got a hold of me through some unfavorable events, my heart softened, I admitted my sin and need for His saving grace, and my life started to change as I entered into a personal relationship with Him. It was no longer my parents' faith, but mine.
As I've grown and matured in the faith, He continues to teach me about humility and not having a self righteous attitude even more so than before. Confessing my sins daily to Him helps keep me in check with this.
Dear Lord, I pray for all the unbelievers and sinners out there whose prideful and hardened hearts are keeping them from relationship with You. I pray that we would not give up in doing our part to bring them into Your Kingdom. I also pray for those of us who have had a relationship with You for years, that we would not forget what You have saved us from and what You continue to save us from as sinners. Help us to maintain a humble and teachable spirit before You as we walk according to Your ways for Your glory alone. Amen.


Proverbs 10

SCRIPTURE:

Proverbs 10

OBSERVATION: (What does it say?)

When we read Proverbs 10 as a whole, it compares the traits of 2 completely different and polar opposite types of people:

Wise and Foolish
Righteous and Wicked
Diligent and Lazy
Prudent and Disgraceful
Lovers and Haters
Wealthy and Poor
Blameless and Evil
Prudent and Sinful

UNDERSTANDING: (What does it mean?)

Who alone is wise, righteous, diligent, prudent (definition: acting with and showing care and thought for the future), loving, gives life and wealth, and blameless?
Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior

Who is foolish, wicked, lazy, disgraceful, hateful, filled with poverty and ruin, evil, and sinful?
The devil and us apart from Christ.

This list ultimately compares our life IN Christ with our lives APART FROM Christ.

LIFE APPLICATION:

Apart from faith in Christ, we are nothing. Apart from faith in Christ, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Apart from faith in Christ, it is impossible to live godly lives. Isaiah 53:6 (NLT) says, "All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all."

Dear Jesus, we confess our sins to you today. We confess our complete dependency and need for your all sufficient grace. We pray that we would continue to walk in freedom away from the sin You have saved us from. Thank You that we are wise, righteous, diligent, prudent, loving, full of life, wealthy and blameless because YOU are these things. May we never take Your gift for granted. We also pray that You would give us hearts to share our hope with the lost who have not yet experienced Your amazing grace. Holy Spirit, please burden our hearts so that we would go out and not keep this Good News to ourselves. Amen.


Proverbs 9

SCRIPTURE:

Proverbs 9

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

This chapter compares the invitation of wisdom to the invitation of foolishness (folly).

WISDOM says, 4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
5 “Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.”

FOOLISHNESS says 16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!”

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

Similarities: Both Wisdom and Foolishness call out to the same type of people...the simple and those with no sense. This is profound because wisdom does not call out to the strong and wise. She calls out to the same type of people that foolishness calls out to. Wisdom loves the simple with no sense because these people are teachable, they love to learn, they love her and walk in her ways (vs. 6, 8-9). Foolishness also love the simple and those with no sense because it is easier for them to fall for anything. They hate wisdom and as a result know nothing. There is no fear or respect of the Lord in them (Vs. 8, 10, 13).

LIFE APPLICATION:

When we receive an invitation to a party, the ball is in our court in how we will reply. We can reply with a yes, no or maybe. Wisdom (who is Christ) cannot force us to walk in His ways. He doesn't force us to submit to Him as Lord and live our lives for Him. In the other corner, Foolishness (who is the devil and the adulteress), cannot force us to sin. He deceives, tempts and seduces, but ultimately, we make the decision to reply "yes " to his invitation. As a "simple person with no sense", whose house will we run to? Wisdom or Foolishness.

Dear Jesus, I admit that I am a weak, simple person with no sense who continues to lack confidence. I pray that I would not be ashamed or discouraged by it and instead run to You and rely on You alone for wisdom, strength and confidence. There are many times that I don't know what I'm doing, but You always know what You're doing. Thank You for Your confidence and perfection. Because of our faith in your sacrifice and resurrection, thank You that we have the power to reply "No" to the evil one's invitation to foolishness, even when he tries hard to make his party seem more fun and appealing. But Lord, we pray for help, especially in those moments when we start to entertain "maybe" replies to him. May You be glorified through our obedience of replying "Yes" to you alone. Amen.


Proverbs 8

SCRIPTURE:

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭8‬:‭6-7‬ NIV)

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

The adulterous woman has taken up most of the chapters until now. In this chapter of Proverbs 8, wisdom takes the stage. It is her time to talk. Wisdom says that her instruction is more valuable than silver, gold and rubies. Nothing we desire can compare with her (vs. 10-11). Wisdom says she can be trusted. Wisdom says she speaks truth. Wisdom says she was with God since the beginning of creation (see verses 22-31).

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

Wisdom gives life. Christ is that wisdom that can be trusted. His instruction is valuable and nothing we desire can compare with Him. He speaks truth and was with God from the beginning of creation.

LIFE APPLICATION:

Christ is the source of all wisdom and truth. Everything in Scripture points back to Him. Let us run to no one but Him.
Dear Lord, You are the Source of all life. I pray that our lives would reflect faith in You as our light and guide. May we continue to live in Your Spirit and truth and keep as far away from sin and wickedness just as they are far away from you. Amen.


Proverbs 7

SCRIPTURE:

Proverbs 7:4-5: Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words."

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

The adulterer and seducer has continually been referred to in the feminine sense using words like "adulteress", "adulterous woman", "wayward woman", "she", and "her." However, another word that has been used in the feminine sense in our readings is Wisdom. Wisdom is referred to as "her"," she" and "sister" (See Proverbs 3:13-18 and Proverbs 4:6-9).

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

She, who is wisdom, is who will save us from the adulteress. Proverbs 2:16 says, "Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words." King Solomon continues to make a case for pursuing wisdom instead of pursuing the adulterous woman.

LIFE APPLICATION:

In the beginning of reading all this stuff that King Solomon wrote on adultery, it disturbed me that the female was always the seductress and the wayward one. Men can be just as seducing as females and although lust is a struggle that generally affects males, there are women who also struggle with lust. Then I read it in greater context and saw the bigger picture that there is no gender bias existing here.
The adulteress in our lives is the devil, the evil one. He seduces us with his tempting ways. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy, just like the wayward woman. Wisdom however, ( who is also referred to as a feminine being), is the Lord. He seeks to protect, give life and restore.
We have 2 choices to make...to either run with the adulteress and give in to her seductive techniques OR to run with wisdom and make her our sister as the above passage in Proverbs 7 mentioned. Dear Jesus, I pray that we would bind wisdom around our necks and make her our sister instead of giving in to the seduction of the adulteress. We desire life, not destruction. We desire that You alone are glorified, not the evil one. Amen.


Proverbs 6

  Count the cost-01

Consider the Cost

Scripture
Proverbs 6:27-29
Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.

Observation - What does it say?
Wise King Solomon compares sleeping with another man's wife to scooping fire into your lap or taking a barefoot stroll on some hot glowing coals.  Just as it's impossible to do those things without getting some 3rd degree burns and some permanent skin damage, it's impossible to sleep with another man's wife without receiving severe punishment.  


Understanding - What does it mean?
Have you ever seen something at the store and fell in love worth it... Until you saw the price tag? It's perfect, amazing and you have to have it... Until you realize you can't afford it.

In several different passages and from several different angles, Solomon addresses this issue of adultery. He continues to warn his hearers that the wayward woman is seductive, beautiful and captivating but the price of going near her is way too expensive! The pain of the consequences is greater than the pleasure of her touch. It will cost you more than you're willing to pay!

James 4:7 commands us to "resist the devil." And 1 Corinthians 6:18 commands us to "Flee from sexual immorality." James points out that there are times we need to stand our ground and fight, but when it comes to sexual temptation we are called to RUN. Don't even go near it!

Joseph had the right idea when Potiphar's wife was trying to get him to sleep with her. Genesis 39:10 says, "She caught him by his cloak and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he left his cloak and ran out of the house." He chose streaking outside over being alone in the house with that seductive woman.

When you see her, remember the cost and RUN while you still can!

Side note to the unmarried: This applies to relationships outside of marriage too. If you get sexually involved with someone and you don't end up marrying them, you just stole something that belongs to the person who will end up marrying them. And, you just gave something to that person that was intended for you to give to your future spouse. Biblically it's clear; sexual intimacy is beautiful and amazing, invented by God, but ONLY within the context of marriage. In the Old Testament, if you slept with a woman you were forced to take her as your wife. There's no such thing as a one night stand or casual sex. It's like scooping fire into your lap. It's going to result in pain, shame and disgrace.

Life Application
When temptation comes, RUN! Don't flirt or entertain lustful thoughts.
 
God, give me the wisdom to always be mindful of the high cost of touching another man's wife. Lead us not into temptation, protect our marriages, our purity and our faithfulness to our spouse (or future spouse if we aren't yet married). Amen.

<a href="http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/sale-tags-with-texture_763658.htm">Designed by Freepik</a>