Intimacy with God requires relationship

When I saw this photo on Pixabay, I was struck by the calmness and directness of the scene.  These two lions are face to face, staring into each other’s eyes.  Obviously one is adult and the other a cub.  I could picture the older one speaking to the younger one about life.  Warnings, directions, instructions and even an affectionate paw swat could be a part of this moment in their relationship.

I immediately was reminded of Solomon in the book of Proverbs.  He was instruction his sons and daughters about life.  There is so much wisdom found there.  He was given insights into the human condition from God.  He was considered the wisest man that ever lived.  There was only One who was greater and that was Jesus Christ.

The following Scriptures really show the heart of Solomon as he wrote down advice to his children:

Proverbs 1:1-19 (TPT)

Here are kingdom revelations, words to live by, and words of wisdom given to empower you to reign in life, written as proverbs by Israel’s King Solomon, David’s son.

Within these sayings will be found the revelation of wisdom
and the impartation of spiritual understanding.
Use them as keys to unlock the treasures of true knowledge.
Those who cling to these words will receive discipline
to demonstrate wisdom in every relationship
and to choose what is right and just and fair.
These proverbs will give you great skill
to teach the immature and make them wise,
to give youth the understanding of their design and destiny.
For the wise, these proverbs will make you even wiser,
and for those with discernment,
you will be able to acquire brilliant strategies for leadership.
These kingdom revelations will break open your understanding
to unveil the deeper meaning of parables,
poetic riddles, and epigrams,
and to unravel the words and enigmas of the wise.
How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom?
We cross the threshold of true knowledge
when we live in obedient devotion to God.
Stubborn know-it-alls will never stop to do this,
for they scorn true wisdom and knowledge.

The Wisdom of a Father

Pay close attention, my child, to your father’s wise words
and never forget your mother’s instructions.
For their insight will bring you success,
adorning you with grace-filled thoughts
and giving you reins to guide your decisions.
10 When peer pressure compels you to go with the crowd
and sinners invite you to join in,
you must simply say, “No!”
11 When the gang says—
“We’re going to steal and kill and get away with it.
12 We’ll take down the rich and rob them.
We’ll swallow them up alive
and take what we want from whomever we want.
13 Then we’ll take their treasures and fill our homes with loot.
14 So come on and join us.
Take your chance with us.
We’ll divide up all we get;
we’ll each end up with big bags of cash!”—
15 my son, refuse to go with them and stay far away from them.
16 For crime is their way of life and bloodshed their specialty.
17 To be aware of their snare is the best way of escape.
18 They’ll resort to murder to steal their victim’s assets,
but eventually it will be their own lives that are ambushed.
19 In their ungodly disrespect for God
they bring destruction on their own lives.

Let us listen to Wisdom’s voice

We are the deciding choosers in life.  We chose to listen to those who have lived long enough to understand some of life, or we rebel and find out for ourselves just how hard can be.  Foolish choices lead to destruction.  In the book of Proverbs is revealed how to not be a failure in life.

Let us choose this week to seek after wisdom and stay out of the devil’s traps found in rebellion and foolishness.

What are doing to prepare for the next move of God?

Isaiah 40:1-11 (TPT)


“1
Your God says to you: 
    “Comfort, comfort my people with gentle, compassionate words.Speak tenderly from the heart to revive those in Jerusalem,   and proclaim that their warfare is over.   Her debt of sin is paid for, and she will not be treated as guilty.    Prophesy to her that she has received from the hand of Yahweh    twice as many blessings as all her sins.”thunderous voice cries out in the wilderness:    “Prepare the way for Yahweh’s arrival!

    Make a highway straight through the desert for our God!
Every valley will be raised up, every mountain brought low.
    The rugged terrain will become level ground
    and the rough places a plain.
Then Yahweh’s radiant glory will be unveiled,
    and all humanity will experience it together.
    Believe it, for Yahweh has spoken his decree!”
A voice says, “Cry out!”
    And I ask, “What should I say?”
    “All people are as frail as grass,
    and their elegance is like a wilting wildflower.
The grass withers, the flower fades
    when the breath of Yahweh blows upon it;
    the people are just like grass!
But even though grass withers and the flower fades,
    the word of our God stands strong forever!” 

Proclaim Good News

Go up on a high mountain, you joyful messengers of Zion,
    and lift up your voices with power.
    You who proclaim joyous news to Jerusalem,
    shout it out and don’t be afraid.
    Say to the cities of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
10 Look! Here comes Lord Yahweh as a victorious warrior;
    he triumphs with his awesome power.
    Watch as he brings with him his reward
    and the spoils of victory to give to his people.
11 He will care for you as a shepherd tends his flock,
    gathering the weak lambs and taking them in his arms.
    He carries them close to his heart
    and gently leads those that have young.”

Doing our part for God

Each of us Christians, as part of the Body of Christ, have assignments from the Lord God.  We are called to proclaim who He is and what He is doing today.  The only way we will be able to follow through on these assignments is to have a personal relationship with Him.  His son, Jesus was born of a virgin (Mary-Luke 1:26-38).  He lived a sinless life before God and man (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sins (Galatians 6:14).  He arose from the dead (Romans 4:13-24).  And He is coming back to earth again (1 Corinthians 15).

When we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our whole life changes.  We now have a relationship with God, the Father, Jesus our Redeemer and Holy Spirit our teacher.  That relationship is developed by our time spent in the Bible, in prayer and in worship.  There are so many Scriptures that talk about relationship all through the Bible, that there is not time to expound on them here.  Nevertheless, we can be sure if we spend time in the Word of God, we will develop a relationship with Him.  We will begin to know who He is and what His plans are for mankind.

He is working all the time to interact with His creations, man and beast.  He loves all He created and wants relationship with them.  The depth of relationship is totally a choice of the creation.  God is always reaching out to us.  We are the ones who continually ignore or rebel against Him.

Now is the time to choose surrender to the love of God found in Christ Jesus. In that surrender we find peace and a depth of living that can be found no other way.  All the promises in the Bible are released by faith in God and His Son.  We activate everything that is set aside for us, by believing He is, and that He rewards those who seek Him.

Hebrews 11:1-6 (KJV)

“1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

We must seek His will for this season so that we can do our part.  What is the Lord asking you to do-to believe for?  How can you bless His people?  What gifts and talents are you hiding instead of sharing with the world?  Each of us has born in us something the world needs to see.  Our personalities are created by God to be used for His grace.  Pray about how you can join in this great season we are entering into.  God grant you the courage to surrender to His call for your life.

Trust in Him for rest and peace

We choose whether we allow rest to come to our hearts.  Anytime we get all panicked and frustrated, we can wallow in it, or choose to cast that care, fear, trouble and mess over on the Lord Jesus, who is well able to handle it and help us get set free.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)                                                                                      “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

 

You must rule over the sin of your mind and your mouth with the strength of your Master

After listening to a podcast  by Proverbs 31 Woman’s leader Lysa TerKeurst, I was struck by the need to correct ourselves, not with our own strength, but allowing the Lord Jesus, to help us control and change our mind and mouth.  If we are indeed His servants, redeemed and bought by Him, we should all be submitting to His work in our lives.

Romans 12:1,2  (NLT)

“12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

We have the choice and the ability to change.  We need to take active control over our own actions and not blame others or circumstances for our own failures.  God help us today, to surrender our mind and mouth to the mastery of Jesus.

Wisdom is something you seek after

Proverbs 18:4 TPT

“4 Words of wisdom are like a fresh, flowing brook—
like deep waters that spring forth from within,
bubbling up inside the one with understanding.”

Solomon’s Call For Wise Men

Proverbs 1 (TPT)

“1 Here are kingdom revelations, words to live by, and words of wisdom given to empower you to reign in life written as proverbs by Israel’s King Solomon, David’s son.  Within these sayings will be found the revelation of wisdom and the impartation of spiritual understanding.  Use them as keys to unlock the treasures of true knowledge.

Those who cling to these words will receive discipline
to demonstrate wisdom in every relationship
and to choose what is right and just and fair.
These proverbs will give you great skill
to teach the immature and make them wise,
to give youth the understanding of their design and destiny.
For the wise, these proverbs will make you even wiser,
and for those with discernment,
you will be able to acquire brilliant strategies for leadership.
These kingdom revelations will break open your understanding
to unveil the deeper meaning of parables,
poetic riddles, and epigrams,
and to unravel the words and enigmas of the wise.
How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom?
We cross the threshold of true knowledge
when we live in obedient devotion to God.
Stubborn know-it-alls will never stop to do this,
for they scorn true wisdom and knowledge.”

Knowledge, wisdom and understanding are choices we make.  We choose to seek after them or to ignore them.  By wisdom, we learn to gain understanding and how to use knowledge.  Knowledge without wisdom and understanding is useless and can be dangerous.  We can use so many examples.  “Alligators are dangerous” is a truth or word of knowledge.  Yet without wisdom and understanding we can be led astray.  Being from Florida, I have known a lot of alligators in my life.  They have habitats in our local lakes.  They build mini-caves under the edges of the pond or lake.  They like murky water to hide their house in.  They travel mostly at night  [though we have seen them walking across golf courses during the daylight hours] and like to go lake to lake at that time.  This is why unsuspecting people have been in their yards at night and encountered a gator.  They also feed at night more than in the daytime.  That is why it is dangerous to swim in lakes and ponds at dusk.  They drown their victim then eat them later.  All these facts add to understanding, but wisdom tells you to avoid swimming at dusk in ponds or lakes, to watch where to walk at night and to not walk in fear just because alligators share your pond or lake.

The same can be said of so many things we fear when we have no knowledge, understanding or wisdom concerning them.  Ignorance is the foundation for prejudice.  Which means to pre-judge a person, place or situation. Humans are notorious for pre-judging things and people.  Our history books are filled with stories of our unfortunate tendencies.  Yet the Bible says, wisdom is shouting in the streets calling us to listen to her.

Lord, help us to listen to Your voice of wisdom, in the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Washing of water by the Word of God

Ephesians 5:25-27  (NKJV)  

“25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

The part of this Scripture passage that has been resonating in my heart this past two weeks is “the washing of water by the Word”.  That phrase kept going through my mind and heart.  The Word of God can wash my heart and soul to become more like Jesus.  I decided to look that passage up to get the whole picture of what the Lord was telling us.  To my surprise, I had forgotten it was dealing with family relationships.

Biblical Marriage Attitudes

To break it down to where we live now, Paul was telling the husbands to love their wives in the same way Jesus loves us.  He then lists some of the things Jesus did to show that love:

  1. He love the Church
  2. He gave Himself for her
  3. He sanctifies and cleans her by the Word of God
  4. He is planning to present her to Himself all gloriously clean, without any sins, faults or blemishes.
  5. His work in our lives cause us to become holy without blemish

This makes loving a wife a big deal.  Men are to love their wives with a pure heart of love like Jesus has.  They are to give themselves to God for her sake.  They are for live a sanctified life before her to help her become clean and pure before God.

Kind of a long list for mere mortal men.  Yet, with Holy Spirit on his side, a man can become that kind of husband.  He can become centered in his acceptance by God, his foundation built on the Word of God in order to not be reactive instead of proactive in his marriage.  Unfortunately, men in the world today are shown as idiots on TV, failures in cartoons and most comedies are a total mockery of true manhood.  Compared to Biblical manhood what we see in media platforms are pitiful, worn down men or total brutes.  Neither is a man after Jesus’ lifestyle.  Though he never married, he treated women with respect and kindness.

The Scripture before this one tells the wife to submit to her husband, as to the Lord.  What makes it hard for most of us women, is a lot of men don’t act much like the Lord Jesus.  God’s best plan is for a unified marriage.  Each partner having strengths the other doesn’t have making a stronger union.  When we marry thinking we have to fight for our position, we miss the whole point.  All of us are to live a life submitted to God the Father, in the Name of Jesus by the power of Holy Spirit.  We are not in this union alone, when we ask God to be our partner.  He created us and knows where each of us are coming from and how to make us truly become one in Him.

My prayer this week is for all of us who have a husband or wife to ask the Lord to reveal areas that need His healing touch and help to change.  He is the Waymaker, Peace Giver and Healer.

Desire is the Fire that keeps us close to the Lord

Colossians 1:28-29  (TPT)

Christ is our message! We preach to awaken hearts and bring every person into the full understanding of truth. It has become my inspiration and passion in ministry to labor with a tireless intensity, with his power flowing through me, to present to every believer the revelation of being his perfect one in Jesus Christ.”

When we fall in love with Jesus our Savior, a fiery passion stirs in our hearts.  We may be a slow burner, by that I mean we don’t have flare-ups and flash fire, we stay on a steady fire of passion.  Some of us are flash and flare with the Lord.  We get so overwhelmed with who He is in our lives, we leap up and shout praise to Him, sometimes in very awkward moments!  There is nothing wrong with flash and flare, we just need to learn to keep the damper working to be aware of our surrounding circumstances.  There are times we need to be a flash-fire, burning throughout a situation, but usually we need that steadfast and controlled burn that keeps us on fire for God and His ways.

Let us burn with Holy Passion for our Lord Jesus.  Let us warm the hearts of those who have become cold and indifferent to the Lord.  Let us be a pleasing incense to Jesus as we live a worship filled life.  God bless you this week.

Inner beauty lasts a lifetime

 

 Peter 3  (TPT)   The Marriage Relationship

“1 And now let me speak to the wives. Be devoted to your own husbands, so that even if some of them do not obey the Word of God, your kind conduct may win them over without you saying a thing. For when they observe your pure, godly life before God, it will impact them deeply. 3–4 Let your true beauty come from your inner personality, not a focus on the external. For lasting beauty comes from a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is precious in God’s sight and is much more important than the outward adornment of elaborate hair, jewelry, and fine clothes.

Holy women of long ago who had set their hopes in God beautified themselves with lives lived in deference to their own husbands’ authority. For example, our “mother,” Sarah, devoted herself to her husband, Abraham, and even called him “master.” And you have become her daughters when you do what is right without fear and intimidation.

Husbands, you in turn must treat your wives with tenderness, viewing them as feminine partners who deserve to be honored, for they are co-heirs with you of the “divine grace of life,” so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”

The world focuses so much on outward looks.  Anyone who has scars, wrinkles, crooked teeth or nose, thinning hair or any other obvious difference to our inner view of beauty, becomes a target to snide comments, rude looks and even being shunned from friendship.  The foolishness of all this reaction is that we all have blemishes somewhere on our bodies.  There is no “perfect” person.  Peter was publically addressing the elaborate dress of some of the ladies of his day.  He reminded them God looks on the heart, not on the outward appearance.  Trying to look a certain way to prove our holiness, our beauty or acceptableness before man or God is utterly foolish.

Does that mean we should just be slobs and dress in dirty clothes?  Does it mean we don’t have to look our best in God’s house?  Yes and no…we need to strive to do our best to live cleanly spirit, soul and body.  If we find ourselves in a place where we cannot dress in fine clothes, then make sure the ones we have are clean and repaired the best we can.  What we wear is not as important as who we are inside.  That is the point the Peter was making.

 

Living a righteous life helps us grow up!

 

Psalm 1  (TPT)  The Tree of Life

“1 What delight comes to the one who follows God’s ways!
He won’t walk in step with the wicked,
nor share the sinner’s way,
nor be found sitting in the scorner’s seat.
His pleasure and passion is remaining true to the Word of “I Am,”
meditating day and night in the true revelation of light.
He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree
planted by God’s design,
deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss,
bearing fruit in every season of his life.
He is never dry, never fainting,
ever blessed, ever prosperous.
But how different are the wicked.
All they are is dust in the wind—
driven away to destruction!
The wicked will not endure the day of judgment,
for God will not defend them.
Nothing they do will succeed or endure for long,
for they have no part with those who walk in truth.
But how different it is for the righteous!
The Lord embraces their paths as they move forward
while the way of the wicked leads only to doom.”

The choices we make in life, even from a young age, cause our paths before us.  When we choose goodness over evil, we reap a goodly reward.  When we choose to do evil over goodness, we reap an evil person’s reward.  It really is that simple.  I realize we are sometimes victims of other people’s choices, yet how we react to that treatment, determines how we will be treated in the future.

Galatians 6:7-10 TPT

“7 Make no mistake about it, God will never be mocked! For what you plant will always be the very thing you harvest. The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted. If you plant the corrupt seeds of self – life into this natural realm, you can expect to experience a harvest of corruption. If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit.

And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! 10 Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others,especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of faith!”

Every time we choose the good over the evil, our ground produces good.  The more we overcome the natural tendencies to retaliate and seek revenge, the more our ground starts producing good crops for us to eat.

May we all choose to be like God, our Father, who loves all men, and rains on both the “just and the unjust”.

God is with us from the day we are born

King David, who wrote many of the Psalms in the Bible, knew God intimately.   He spoke of that knowledge so many times in the Psalms.  Psalm 71 in the Passion translation is so beautifully written.

Psalm 71:1-9 (TPT)  The Psalm of Old Age

“1 Lord, you are my secure shelter. Don’t ever let me down!
Let your justice be my breakthrough.
Bend low to my whispered cry
and save me from all my enemies!
You’re the only place of protection for me.
I keep coming back to hide myself in you,
for you are like a mountain-cliff fortress where I’m kept safe.
Let me escape from these cruel and wicked men,
and save me from the hands of the evil one.
For you are my only hope, Lord!
I’ve hung on to you, trusting in you all my life.
6–7 It was you who supported me from the day I was born,
loving me, helping me through my life’s journey.
You’ve made me into a miracle;
no wonder I trust you and praise you forever!
Many marvel at my success,
but I know it is all because of you, my mighty protector!
I’m overflowing with your praise for all you’ve done,
and your splendor thrills me all day long.
Now that I’m old, don’t set me aside.
Don’t let go of me when my strength is spent.”

You get a glimpse of an old man, his life at the end of his season, asking the One who created him, to keep him until his last breath.  We can also have that kind of trust in our Lord God, through His Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  His eyes are upon the righteous.  We are made righteous through the blood sacrifice Jesus made upon the cross of Calvary.  He paid the price for us to have relationship with God as Father.  Intimate and close to His children.  Loving, correcting and preparing us to be ready to come home to Him at the end of our lives.  What a wonderful Savior we serve!  What a Mighty God who loves us!

I pray you may get a glimpse like King David did, of the wonderful keeping grace offered to us by the Father God as we serve Him faithfully.