Proverbs was my Daddy’s favorite book of the Bible; yet God’s graceful words were often peppered with the world’s “wisdom” which is foolishness with God.
For one, he would say, “there’s no rest for the weary.” Another, “No good deed will go unrewarded.”
To a child, these words show only one side of the coin—only a half-truth; but to the one who is maturing, growing up in Christ,
the Lord by His holy Spirit, reveals all truth and enables us to walk uprightly in agreement with it.
There is rest for the weary hearts and it’s only found in Christ Jesus who not only gave Himself for us but rescues His scattered sheep and leads them out to bring them in to the place He has prepared in advance for them to fulfill His good work in them.
This is SAVING Grace that not only restores the lost and wayward soul but revives it to walk in truth and light to lead others back to the fold.
In a body’s immune system, the first line of defense is the body’s strength against attacks which weaken the soul to sin’s sickness that terminates in death and destruction. God’s healing strength is
found in the Person of Jesus Christ who is the Living Word sent by God to heal and deliver from sin and death. We are to trust and obey His Word to us, His co-workers and fellow-heirs of Right-Living and BE—
A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Last night in my dreams, I was back in college preparing for a higher education and in the dream, we were cleaning out and re-arranging articles of furniture and possessions that were no longer necessary or didn’t belong. In one segment, we passed by a large bank, and I spotted what APPEARED to be a large stone statue –a memorial—and it was my Daddy! I recognized his spirit instantly and did not want to leave that place! He, of course, knew I was out there and had withdrawn into the sidelines of the doorway so that I could not see him–apparently hoping that I would move on. There were officials in that bank, and they were busy trying to conceal him from me. They tried to tell me that he wasn’t there but I knew better for I had seen my Daddy and the longing to be with him again was opened up from deep inside that place of a child. I remembered all the times that I could have spent with my Daddy while he was alive and did not —mostly due to the problems with Mother and her manipulations and power plays for control of others. I should have not let anyone or anything stand in the way of my coming home to Daddy.
I should have paid Mother and her controlling ways no heed. We are to owe no one anything but to love them for this is well-pleasing in the sight of God the Father.
But too it occurred to me that this dream again underscored what I had received from God in another dream–that I had made an idol out of my earthly father that nobody is perfect but One–Jesus. And Jesus is not selfish in his perfection. Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. God’s unfailing love resides in Jesus and when we embrace Jesus as LORD and Savior, it sets us free from the chains that seek to hold us back from being perfected in God’s unfailing love.
We are not to make an idol out of anything seen or unseen but worship God only.
Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness
Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who had already died,
are happier than the living, who are still alive.
But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another.
This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless— a miserable business!
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Find someone who will not betray your confidence, someone who is always ready to say whenever you call, “I’ll pray right now.” Then, as you pray together, start praying for what God wants you to do for those in need around you for He has created you with purpose and destiny and the place He sets and sends you is holy ground for the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. Be about your Father’s business which is about restoring lost and wayward sin-sick souls back to His family, the household of faith.
Most of our sins are not the result of blatant evil’s temptation as much as the downward pull of the lesser good which DISTRACTS us from the GREATER good that merits our whole-hearted commitment! (A faithful man who can find? When Jesus returns will He find anyone that is still faithful and true on the earth?)
Father, may I keep my eyes TRAINED on You, above the horizon of my self. I pray that this fixed vision, this proper perspective brings correction to my heart for as a man thinks in his heart, so he is. As I keep my eyes on You, heal my troubled memories and free my mind from the past to walk in truth and life with You the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Take my sin-weakened soul and strengthen me to walk in the joy of Your saving grace to do whatever you say. Amen.
My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. (Psalms 31:15)
A faithful friend is a strong defense: and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure.
A faithful friend is the medicine of life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him.
(Ecclesiastes 6:14, 16)
Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? Many men are called merciful: but who shall find a faithful man? Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:6)
When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Jesus is saying “never betray My trust; get over ‘it’ and continue to walk in My will.”
Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.
(Psalm 12:1 – Luke 18:11)
The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.
(Proverbs 20:5, Proverbs 25:14)
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of My people been restored? There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you.
(Jeremiah 8:22, Jeremiah 30:13)
Balm used to grow in Israel for the healing of the nations. Her priests and prophets were the physicians. Has Israel then no balm for herself? Is there no physician in her who can bind up her wound? Gilead was to Israel what Is. The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations. My house shall be a house of prayer for the nations but you have turned it into a den of THIEVES. It is not about us but all about them! Jesus came to heal and deliver from the sin sickness that leads death(separation from the Source of Everlasting Life–God for apart from Him we can do nothing) . The lies of the devil only come to steal (thief) to kill and to destroy. Each one is calculated to mislead us from the Way, the Truth and the Life that is Christ Jesus who is the Author and Perfecter of Faith and sent to heal and deliver us from the curse word of Sin and its ensuing Destruction. Jesus is the Word sent by God the Father to restore us to the real life, the more abundant life that is found only in Him the Origin, the Well-Spring of creation.
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.‘ Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.
(Jeremiah 30:17 – Jeremiah 9:1)
But the eyes of faith see a small cloud, “the size of a man;s hand…” God promises, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Elijah was a man just like us.
(I Kings 18:44, 2 Chronicles 7:14, James 5:17)
When God is about to send the rain, He first sends His friends the prophets to declare His promises and plant faith in the hearts of people to wait upon the Lord.
There is a famine in the land of hearing the Word of the LORD and believing Him.
God has sent out his “Elijah’s“, “John the Baptist’s“, “Joshua’s and Caleb’s” and “Deborah’s” and “Samuel’s” to prepare the land to receive His Seed, His Word that heals and sets free.
In the barren wastelands when all anybody could see was nothing,
the prophet Elijah sent his servant to look for rain.
Six times, he went, looked, and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.”
“Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.”
And sure enough, the seventh time he said, “Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea.”
“Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, ‘Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.'”
Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. And God strengthened Elijah mightily. Pulling up his robe and tying it around his waist, Elijah ran in front of Ahab’s chariot until they reached Jezreel.
(I Kings 18)
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
When Mercy Found Me
O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
(Psalm 63:1 – Psalm 84:2 – Matthew 5:6)
“My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place. But I will bring back Israel to his home, And he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan;
His soul shall be satisfied on Mount Ephraim and Gilead I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the LORD.
This is what the LORD Almighty says:
‘In this place, desolate and without men or animals–in all its towns there will again be pasture. Do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.’
(Jeremiah 50:6 – Jeremiah 50:19 – Jeremiah 31:14 – Jeremiah 33:12 – Jeremiah 46:27)
It is man’s NATURE to “act out” the aggravations caused by the dry and weary dust NATURE of their wilderness environmental experience.
This reflects in several ways, from even the most civilized and reserved of temperament becoming angrier in impatience. As it gets harder to bear going it alone, some cut others off completely in their desperation to get ahead and beat the heat, thinking that their goals, their ways are supreme. Rudeness is a weak man’s “strength“. But the joy of the Lord is a righteous man’s strength. For the times of REFRESHING come from the presence of the Lord and in His presence is FULLNESS of joy and it is the joy of His SAVING Grace. A continual feast. A hospitable spirit knows no bounds in welcoming others under the abiding presence of the Almighty Lord. To the depleted or even exhausted, sin-sick diseased soul, these joyous ones are like finding an oasis of refreshing delights in the deserted wilderness. They seem to good to be true and one has to rub his eyes to see. For we walk by faith and not by sight for seeing is not believing. Those that come to God must believe–that He is and that He rewards those who seek Him diligently. For those who find their strength in Him, fatigue turns into renewed exuberance. You feel compelled to partake in the action and generally have more strength to step out of your daily routine and go wherever He sends you on His God-adventure going up from the barren wastelands to soar new heights on the mountain of God.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. The Lord saves the crushed in spirit.
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
(Psalm 34:18 – Deuteronomy 4:7 – Psalm 51:17 – Psalm 85:9 – Isaiah 61:1)
Do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness is by law, then Christ has died for nothing. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness is attainable by the law, then Christ hath died in vain. I don’t make void the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith,
one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Instructions for Christian Living
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.