Category Archives: Proverbs 4

What are you consuming?

Pr. 4:17:  “For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

This is what the wicked are said to do in Proverbs 4.  It could be easy to type the contrasting words, “Christians eat from the Bread of Life,” but we all know that’s just not the plain facts.  All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God.  If we weren’t sinners, we wouldn’t need a Savior.  Thank God for the Lord’s mercy and the forgiveness that came through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Let’s pause this morning, and ask ourselves what bread we are eating right now.  Are you eating the bread of wickedness?  Is there a sin that seems tasty right now?  Are you savoring the morsels of a sinful act?  Your heart has been deceived and the bread you are eating will turn to ash in your mouth.

David told the Lord, in Ps. 119:103, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  You can once again taste the sweetness of the Lord and His Word.  Turn to The Bread of Life and ask Him to forgive you for finding pleasure in lesser things.  Ask the Lord to fill you, to satisfy the depths of your soul, and ask Him to help His word to become sweeter to your taste than honey.  He is faithful.  He will not only forgive you, but He will fill you so that you won’t hunger for lesser things.  (John 6:35-36)

What have you been drinking?  Have you been drinking the wine of violence?  Are you being so consumed by violence and wickedness that you are drunk on it?  Sin can be so consuming that it seems there is no way out.  Satan gives us one taste, and if we don’t turn back and repent, we can become addicted and consumed.  It seems that life without our sinful pleasures is no longer possible.  This is a lie.

If we drink of the living water we will never thirst for lesser drink.  Jesus said the living water that He gives will become in us a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.  Sin causes us to cling to dust.  When our souls are parched, dry, and thirsty, the only thing that will truly satisfy our thirst is the Living Water.  The Living God revives us and pours life into our souls.  The fountain that will spring up within us springs up into everlasting life.  Are you thirsty?

Thank You, Lord, for providing salvation for us.  Thank You for your love.  Thank You for Your faithfulness; for being the same God yesterday, today, and forevermore.  Thank You that Your proven Word reminds us that You do not change.  If You said Your water would cause us not to thirst, then its true.  You said that the one who comes to You, You will by no means cast out.  It is impossible for You to lie.  Thank you for this promise.  Thank you for everlasting life that comes through you.  We are all sinners, but You loved us so much that You wouldn’t leave us without a Savior.  Help us, Lord, to accept that gift and rely on Your strength and Your truth to hold on to it and not become drunk with sin ever again.  Holy Spirit, consume us, and make us new.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray.  Amen. 

 

 

 

The light of life

Pr. 4:19:  “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” 

There is a possibility that you can get so far away from the Lord and from His will that your way will be completely dark.  In the darkness you won’t even know where the stumbling blocks are nor how to avoid them.  This is why we need to stay in the word.  Jesus is the light of the world.  He said in John 8:12, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Without the Lord guiding our paths, our thoughts, and our decisions, we are in darkness, stumbling around with no security.  If we allow it, the Word of God will be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  The light of the Lord will reveal to us the things of darkness in our lives.  God will then be the One to guide us, to move the obstacles, and to reveal to us the path we should take to avoid them in the future.

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.  The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”  Ps. 121:7-8.  If we do not wander off, but stay in the Word, stay in the light, the Lord will preserve us and keep us from darkness.

With today being July 4th, fireworks are on my mind.  Fireworks are fun, they’re lovely, and they light up the sky.  However, fireworks don’t last very long.  We cannot count on bursts of light to sustain us long-term if we need to see clearly.  Likewise, we cannot just read the word every once in a while and think the light will sustain us in all circumstances where we need to see clearly.  We need the true light, the light of the world, on a regular basis in order to see clearly the obstacles and stumbling blocks in our way.

Enjoy the fireworks, but be diligent enough to remain in the true light.

Happy 4th!

jamie

Look straight ahead

Pr. 4:25:  “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.”

I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where we are supposed to be looking at one thing, but we really want to look at something else.  A friend or family member wants us to admire something they’ve done, but we keep looking at our phone.  Our child has something to show us, but we keep glancing at our book or our show.  The pastor is preaching, but we are watching the people a few rows over.  We’re supposed to be watching the road, but something on the side of the road looks more interesting.

Our world has so many distractions for us that it is easy to get caught up in them.  This proverb tells us to keep our eyes straight ahead.  With so many options, how can we do that?  We must find solid priorities and remember them.  My pastor has done a blog series on narrowing down the things you Must do in life and weeding out the rest.  ( pastorkemp.com )  It has been very valuable to me as I have tried to narrow the focus of my life.

Where should we look?  Well, that depends.  First we should look to God.  First we must seek His face, His Word, and His will for our lives.  We must align ourselves and our priorities with His call on our lives.  Next we use what we’ve discovered in His presence to figure out what things we must do to complete the work for those priorities.  Those are the things we need to focus on every day.  Those are the things require us to look straight ahead.  If your priorities involve your spouse, then don’t look away.  If your priorities involve your children, do not become too distracted.  Whatever your “must do’s” are, do them first.

When you’re on your death-bed and looking back on your life will it be the distractions that you look back and remember?  No.  It will be the things that should have been your priority.  After you’ve determined your priorities, make sure your eyes are straight ahead.  Do not let the distractions of this life rob your priorities of your full attention.  Those distractions aren’t even worth remembering.

Focusing in,

jamie

Follow your heart?

Pr. 4:23:  “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

How many times have we heard the words “follow your heart”?  This was not the advice of the Lord.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”  Should we be mindlessly following something we know for certain is deceitful?

In Luke 12:34, Jesus tells us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Jesus tells us again, in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

What is it that we are treasuring?  By simply listening to the words that proceed from our mouths, we can easily find out where our treasure truly lies.  Do we trust in the Lord will all our hearts; or do we lean on our own understanding?  Are we anxious; or do we pray about everything and offer thanksgiving, knowing that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus?

These verses encompass everything:  politics, provision, uncertainty, academic achievement, parenting, marital happiness, successful work, weight loss, our looks or popularity…anything you can think of.  Do we really believe that God’s plans for us are for our good, to give us peace, a future, and a hope?  He already gave us the ultimate hope…salvation, through His Son, Jesus.  If He will give up His Son for us, will He not even more give us peace, comfort, protection, every need, and more?  He is more than capable, and more than enough.

The Word tells us to keep our hearts with all diligence.  Diligence is defined as:  “constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.”  Diligence is not what happens by accident, nor what happens when we go on auto-pilot.  Diligence is daily persistence in the Word.  Diligence is earnest effort to pray.  Diligence is constant effort to trust that God’s Word, and His promises are true.  He and His Word are proven, and pure…they will come through for us.  If His Word is hidden in our hearts, then out of our hearts will spring the proof.

Let’s not follow our hearts any longer.  Let’s follow His Word and head down the path of hope with rivers of living water flowing from our hearts.  You in?

jamie