do you think He can’t read human hearts? (Proverbs 15:11)
God smashes the pretensions of the arrogant;
He stands with those who have no standing.
God can’t stand evil scheming,
but He puts words of grace and beauty on display.
A greedy and grasping person destroys community;
those who refuse to exploit live and let live.
Prayerful answers come from God-loyal people;
the wicked are sewers of abuse.
God keeps His distance from the wicked;
He closely attends to the prayers of God-loyal people.
God can’t stand pious poses,
but He delights in genuine prayers.
A life frittered away disgusts God;
He loves those who run straight for the finish line.
It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path,
a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules.
An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny;
an obedient, God-willed life is spacious.
Fear-of-God is a school in skilled living—
first you learn humility, then you experience glory.
The Withered Fig Tree
Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry.
Seeing a lone fig tree alongside the road, he approached it anticipating a breakfast of figs.
When he got to the tree, there was nothing but fig leaves. He said, “No more figs from this tree—ever!”
The fig tree withered on the spot, a dry stick.
The disciples saw it happen.
They rubbed their eyes, saying, “Did we really see this? A leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next?”
But Jesus was matter-of-fact:
“Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump.
Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large,
as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”
Jesus: I am here speaking with all the authority of God, who has commanded Me to give you this commission:
Go out and make disciples in all the nations.
Ceremonially wash them through baptism in the name of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Then disciple them.
Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you,
and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you. And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age.
Lord, I pray that my faith be strengthened every day as I walk with You in spirit and in truth.
May I find confirmation in the good things that have come into my life Amen.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does He withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
How can two walk together–unless they agree? Unless they are going the same way.
All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with His traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says,
God opposes the proud,
but He pours out grace on the humble. (James 4:6)
Dear precious Savior, forgive me for not loving You as I did at first.
Help me to realize I can do nothing without You but that with You, all things are possible by faith.
Even love is not possible apart from You but with You, even the “unlovable” are made lovely.
Just as You pronounced the lepers, “clean” we want to see others with Your vision and provision with
the true riches which are our resources in You, our Source, on earth as it is in heaven, Amen.
And all things, whatever you ask in prayer, BELIEVING, you will RECEIVE.
Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again.
They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.
You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it.
You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.
You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not?
Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and His way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “He’s a fiercely jealous lover.”
And what He gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find.
It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”
So let God work His will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.
Say a quiet yes to God and He’ll be there in no time.
Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.
Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over.
Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends.
It’s God’s Word, His Message, His Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk.
You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it.
God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
Nothing but a Wisp of Fog
And now I have a word for you who brashly announce,
“Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year.
We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.”
You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.
You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.
Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”
As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves.
All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.