Honor The Lord With Your Wealth

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

We are called to honor the Lord in our body, our spirit (1 Corinthians 6:20), in our actions (1 Corinthians 10:31), and Proverbs 3 teaches us we also are to honor him with our wealth. Wealth here does not simply mean our cash flow. We can have a tendency to think that if we give the first ten percent (our tithe) off the gross margin of our pay check, we then have ninety percent that is ours. What’s Gods is Gods, and what’s mine is mine. Everything I purchase with my money is mine, and the church is responsible to use my tithe as the Lord’s money. I don’t see Proverbs is teaching us that. Rather we are called to honor the Lord with all of our wealth; one-hundred percent of it. Yes we tithe our percentage to the Lord, but he wants us to honor him with all that is part of our wealth. I think this includes everything in your possession that has value.

My house and yours is filled with possessions that have presumably been purchased by the ninety percent. Those possessions are yours and part of your wealth. Yet we are called to honor the Lord with all of it. What that looks like is going to look different for each family. If you have a spare couple of rooms and your children are all grown and moved out; maybe that means you are called to use your house for missionaries to stay in while they are on furlough. Maybe you are called to use your groceries to make meals for a single mom. Or maybe you are called to use your cell phone to send encouraging notes to those who are suffering and downcast. Whatever that looks like for you; we are all called to honor the Lord with our wealth. Matter of fact, we can never have the Lord’s smile upon our lives if we don’t honor him. Honoring him is what we are called to do.

The promise of the text is that if we honor the Lord with our wealth, he will ensure that our barns and our vats will be over-flowing. This does not mean our bank accounts will be over-flowing. But rather we will have an increase of things to share and bless others with. If we use our wealth to honor the Lord, he will give us more to honor him with.

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Pride In Our Own Wisdom

Proverbs 3:7-8 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

One of the surest ways to forsake the Fear of the Lord and stray off the Christian path is to have pride in our own wisdom. When we find we no longer submit ourselves under the Lord’s directives in the Word; when our own counsel is more than enough to live by; we can be certain pride has found our heart to be it’s home, and agony, fatigue, and weariness are sure to follow.

Instead, we are to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and not lean on our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge him, and he WILL make our paths straight. In Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). It is to our Lord Jesus we must daily go to keep pride from plundering our home.

Making A Crooked Life Straight

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

I remember when we first got internet to our house. It was the slowest dial-up you could imagine. And actually it is almost shameful to say our current speed tops out at 3 MB now. Anyhow, I remember perusing the World Wide Web and finding some sort of Christian chat-room of sorts. The people in the room were discussing different moral topics and chiming in on what was the right course of action for each person. I read for a while and decided to start chiming in because “hey, I got all sorts of opinions on what these people should be doing”. As I typed, people started interacting with me and saying that my opinions were wrong. I did not like that. I would stumble around with my words and attempt to justify myself. But I could not clear my name because the folks in the chat-room would point out different Bible verses that contradicted my opinions. It was the first time I can recall being shown to be a fool in light of God’s counsel written down in the Scriptures. I was trusting in myself with all of my heart, and leaning on my own understanding. I saw for the first time that my own understanding is flawed and needs correction from a source of truth outside of myself.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

We are encouraged here to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and not lean or rely upon our own natural understanding. The Lord inspired each and every word in the Bible and has written it down as the main source of truth to correct our own understanding. It is to be our bias, our presupposition for all our thinking. And the more we submit our own thinking to the Lordship of Christ; the more our crooked lives become straight.


Commands:

  • Trust in the Lord with all of my heart
  • Don’t lean on my own understanding
  • Acknowledge God in all of my ways

Promises:

  • If I acknowledge the Lord, trust him, and not my own understanding, he will make the paths of my life straight.

Thoughts:

  • Trusting the Lord comes in levels, or depths; we are called to trust him with all of our heart
  • It is natural for us to trust in ourselves with all of our heart and not the Lord
  • Leaning on our own understanding is our natural tendency and must be fought against
  • Crooked paths comes from trusting in self

Steadfast Love And Faithfulness

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” -Proverbs 3:4-3 ESV

Steadfast love and faithfulness can be summarized by a heart that consistently and lovingly clings to truth. Jesus is the picture perfect model of this, but a visual example of this for our family is my dear sweet wife. Almost daily, my children have seen her display steadfast love and faithfulness. She consistently and lovingly clings to the truth, teaches the truth, and hangs her expectations up on the clothesline of truth. She sits in her recliner before the kids wake in the morning and binds the truth around her neck; she writes it on the tablet of her heart.

Because she has done this each and every morning for years, she has found favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Success here simply means discretion, knowledge, prudence, wisdom, insight, or understanding. These qualities are not innate (or natural) to any of us. And so we are called to daily bind, and daily write our Lord’s Word upon our heart. If we do not, we will soon find that we have drifted out to sea and forsaken the shoreline and anchor point of life.


Commands:

  • Do not let steadfast love and faithfulness forsake me
  • Bind steadfast love and faithfulness around my neck
  • Write steadfast love and faithfulness on the tablet of my heart

Promises:

  • If I bind steadfast love and faithfulness on the tablet of my heart; if I don’t let them forsake me; if I bind them around my neck; I will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

Application:

  • If I want to find favor and good success with God and man, I must bind myself to steadfast love and faithfulness. Steadfast love and faithfulness can be summarized by consistently and loving truthfulness, or merciful truth.
  • Steadfast love and faithfulness will have a tendency to forsake me, I must act against that tendency.

Do Not Forget My Teaching

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” -Proverbs 3:1-2

There are many things I think I have learned, but then soon find out they were not actually lodged in my memory. Most of the time it is because I never practiced the truth for a period of time sufficient to burn it into my memory, or become a part of who I actually am.

The Lord comes to us as a Father and lovingly says to us “son, do not forget”. Do not forget me, and do not forget my teaching. To forget is to wither away from the memory, and cease to be important. It is shameful to think that our Father’s teachings cease to be important to us, but that is exactly what happens.

O Lord, do not let us forget you or your commandments. Let our heart regard you as important and necessary. And let not your teachings wither away from our minds.


Commands:

  • Do not forget the teachings of God
  • Let our heart keep the commandments of God

Promises:

  • If we do not forget God’s teachings, we will have a long a peaceful life.

Applications:

  • The way to remember God’s teachings is to practice obedience to his commandments. Practice makes perfect, and it assists with the mind not letting truth become important.

Fear Is A Liar

Psalms 91:5-6 (ESV) You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

I don’t have much to say this morning other than the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of man is a snare. When we “dwell in the shelter of the Most High,” and trust in Jesus as our “refuge and our fortress,” we will not fear.

I was blessed to have found this song last night by Zach Williams. Enjoy the SONG!

The Spirit Of Wisdom

Ephesians 1:15-23 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

I quit my job yesterday morning. I had just celebrated my sixteenth year with the same company, and have seen many changes. What once was a company that centered around people, now revolves solely around the bottom dollar. Changes like that are slow. When you are in the boat with your head down fishing, it can be hard to look up and ask the captain if he knows where we are, or where we’re going. Asking the question and waiting for an answer takes a Spirit of wisdom.

Christians need wisdom. The Apostle Paul, after he hears of the faith and love that the Ephesians have for one another, begins praying for them. They have faith in the Lord Jesus, and love towards other Christians; and Paul says, “yeah, there is evidence of true conversion; now I am going to pray that they might receive the Spirit of wisdom”.

The Spirit of wisdom comes from God. It is a kind of knowledge that enables us to know the riches of our inheritance, the hope of our calling, and the greatness of the Lord’s power towards us who believe. This wisdom enables the eyes of our heart to be enlightened. Simply put, the Lord tells wisdom to walk into the room of the Christians mind and turn the lights on. The eyes squint and water a bit, the pupils adjust, and the Christian sees something he or she did not see before. It can seem so natural, yet Paul tells us this wisdom is supplied by God and comes from one Christian praying for another Christian; of whom may or may not know the lights are off in the room.

My family has been in a continual season of trial and suffering over the past couple of years. Many people have been praying for us, and we are so thankful. But I have been failing to live in obedience to the exhortation from this text. I have had the lights off unable to see those around me who also need prayer. Someone, somewhere has prayed for me I am sure, that I may have the eyes of my heart enlightened to see. My first guess is she is still lying in bed upstairs while I write. What a beloved wife I have. Oh may the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to each of us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; so that we might see.

The Seal Of God

Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The gospel of our salvation is the word of truth. It is a message that must be heard; and it is a message that must be believed. When a person hears the gospel, and believes upon Jesus, they are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

In ancient times, a sealed message was authenticated as a word of truth if it had a wax seal. The seal was the sign that the message was truly from the one who sealed it.

When a person hears the message of Jesus, and believes upon him; he or she is sealed with a stamp that is more authentic then a wax seal. The seal is none other than the Holy Spirit; the third member of the trinity. And when the third member sets his seal upon you; when he takes up residence inside your heart, you begin to take on the characteristics of the one who placed his seal upon you. You start to bear the fruits of repentance, the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self control), and bear the armor of God. The seal shows us that we are Gods. It shows others that we are Gods. And it one day will show Jesus at the last judgement that we belong to his Father.

Slavery To A Perfect Master

Ephesians 1:11-12 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Those of us who have trusted in Christ were predestined to obtain an eternal inheritance, reserved in heaven for us; the salvation of our souls, to the praise of God’s glory. The Holy Spirit was given as a gift, and a guarantee of this promised inheritance.

I tried numerous times before my conversion to trust in Christ. The idea of becoming a Christian was intriguing to me. I suppose I wanted the benefits of an inheritance, without the bondage of a master. But coming to Christ is a submission of self to Jesus as LORD and master. For if you “confess with your mouth Jesus as LORD, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead; then you will be saved.”

True freedom is becoming a slave to a perfect master. Slavery to a wicked master is bondage and death; while submission to a perfect master is freedom and life.

Unity Without Universalism: The Mystery Of God’s Will

Ephesians 1:7-12 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Redemption is the forgiveness of sin through the gospel of Christ. God made known to us this mystery simply because it brought him pleasure to do so. Verse ten tells us there is more to this mystery. It says “in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him.” The mystery: total and universal unity in Christ. I do not take this to mean universalism is true; for Romans 9:22 and other places tell us God has not, and will not save all people, nor all spiritual beings. He has destined some people and some angels to bear his wrath for eternity. But I do take this to mean Christ will gather people from all time, and all backgrounds; he will gather things in heaven and things on earth; he will gather and unite into one all things. Or maybe it is better to say he will gather some of all things into one universal church.

During the sermon on Sunday we had a guest preacher named Joel; one of the seminary students. He was preaching on the subject of communion. He said something I found very insightful and encouraging. He said (from the last supper) he believed Jesus was in heaven right now fasting; fasting from the bread and the wine until the great wedding feast. The feast where he will prepare a table for us; a feast where every tongue and nation of people will be gathered to worship the lamb who was slain. Jesus will be there, and will break the bread, and drink the cup with those gathered; those who have trusted and believed upon the Christ who unites all things into one. I can’t wait for that day! What a feast that will be!

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”