Devotionals

Consequences of Not Listening to Wisdom

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Proverbs 1

24    Because I have called and you refused,

I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,

25    Because you disdained all my counsel,

And would have none of my rebuke,

26    I also will laugh at your calamity;

I will mock when your terror comes,

27    When your terror comes like a storm,

And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,

When distress and anguish come upon you.

28    “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;

They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.

33    But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,

And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

Have you ever said to your kids, “I told you not to do that, now look what you have done.”? I both heard this from my father and my children heard it from me. It is the nature of our nature to reject instruction and to learn the hard way. In this section we find a strong warning from Wisdom. She says that if we reject her call and don’t pay attention to her counsel and don’t turn away at her rebuke that we will wish we had. It’s one thing when our kids got a little cut or a bruise from not listening; it is quite another thing when we feel the full consequences of our adult foolishness.

Notice here that when we reject Wisdom’s counsel and rebuke that when we ask for it, it won’t be there. Once we have turned away from Wisdom and found ourselves in trouble, Wisdom is not going to be at our beck and call. We will try to find her but she won’t be there. Once you are in jail, it is too late to seek Wisdom; once you have become chained to your sin, it is too late to seek Wisdom; once you have ruined your life, it is too late to seek Wisdom. The prime example of this is King Saul who rejected Samuel the prophet’s instructions from God and when Saul decided he needed Samuel’s help, Samuel was dead, and Saul had no way to contact his God.

The first chapter of Proverbs ends with a contrast: “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” The benefits of Wisdom far outweigh the apparent difficulties. In fact, when we say “no” to ourselves because we are following Wisdom’s instructions, we will dwell in safety, security, and apart from evil’s painful consequences. Are we walking in Wisdom’s instructions today? Are we paying attention to the fear of the Lord and the instruction of Wisdom? This is a good question to ponder.

 

Don’t you wish you could pass this devotional on to your government leaders? What a mess our governments are in because they have rejected the fear of the Lord and the Wisdom of God.

 On the one hand today we are praying for Jane, who found out that her father died 45 days ago. He lived quite far away and they could not get a hold of him over Christmas. Yesterday they drove out to his town and found out that he had gone to the hospital and died. Pray for Jane as she grieves over this loss. Her father was a Muslim. Julie’s mom died suddenly on Friday back in Illinois. Pray for Julie and her brother and aunt as they work through this sorrow. On the other hand we are rejoicing with Rachel and her family. Rachel’s progress has been continual and she is to be coming home this Saturday. All of her stitches are out, the port has been removed, and she is going through daily physical therapy. Thanks to God for this continual miracle of healing.

 We rejoice in another wonderful day with God’s people. We walk in the Light just as Christ is in the Light and we have shared fellowship one with another. Thank God for this glorious fellowship we enjoy as His children in His Light. The people of JIBC sweetly welcomed Bobbi and Jared with open arms and open hearts. Thank you for your kind welcome.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Wisdom, Listen to Her

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Proverbs 1

20    Wisdom calls aloud outside;

She raises her voice in the open squares.

21    She cries out in the chief concourses,

At the openings of the gates in the city

She speaks her words:

22    “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?

For scorners delight in their scorning,

And fools hate knowledge.

23    Turn at my rebuke;

Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;

I will make my words known to you.

 

As we study the book of Proverbs, we will see that the person of wisdom is always referred to as a woman. “She raises her voice in the open squares, she cries out in the chief concourses, she speaks her words.” This does not raise a question of why, this is just how it is done. We are then to listen to the Woman of Wisdom as she cries out with words of instruction, warning, and rebuke.

Notice with me that Wisdom does not hide her message. In the NT we read that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Wisdom does not hide her message, she does not speak in the shadows but boldly in daylight. There is nothing to hide about the instructions of wisdom. We hide our sin and its consequences, but we rejoice when we follow wisdom and enjoy its benefits.

Wisdom speaks in the open and she speak in the main places of travel. We might say that wisdom shouts from the billboards and the radio stations. She cries out through social media to make her messages known. Wisdom is not afraid of being seen, in fact, she puts herself out in the central public square and calls all men and women to follow her ways.

Wisdom also speaks in the gates of the city. We would say that wisdom speaks in the courthouses and in the government houses. Unfortunately, today the voice of wisdom is not always heard in the courthouses and in the government houses. Too often men and women of foolishness are trying to persuade with their godless philosophies. “When the wicked bear rule the people mourn, but when the righteous are in authority the people rejoice.” The people of a country rejoice when their leaders are listening to the voice of wisdom.

And so, when we or anyone else turn our ears and lives to listen to Wisdom’s cry, she fills us with her spirit and makes her words known to us. All that it takes to be a person of wisdom who lives a wise life is to make certain that we listen when Wisdom speaks and we turn when Wisdom calls.

 

As we prepare for Sunday, take time to both pray for the pastor and teachers who are preparing their hearts and minds to preach and teach and pray for ourselves to be ready to walk into the house of the Lord to spend time with His people lifting up His name. As you know, I always look forward to Sunday, its what pastors do. But I remember when I wasn’t pastoring a church, I still loved Sundays. I loved the fellowship, the singing, the praying and especially the opening of the Word of God. My pastor, Pastor Dennis Walton, week after week opened God’s word to us and I looked forward to our time with him. Pray for Sunday.

Pray also for one another. We have an enemy of our souls who hates all the things of God, especially God’s church. Pray for each of us to have spiritual victories as we prepare our lives to come to church together.

The neurologist we met did not specialize in epilepsy treatment. She gave us the name of a doctor here who is and epileptologist. Still looking.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Human greatness vs. Heavenly greatness

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Matthew 20

24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Ambition is a human thing. From the day I started my first job I wanted to do well and I wanted the boss to like my work.  When I presented a proposal to a Christian printing company and they accepted it without reservation, it felt good.  As humans, we like being recognized for our work.  So when the ten disciples heard that the mother of James and John asked for her sons to sit on the right and the left of Jesus in the new kingdom, they were put out, “greatly displeased.”

This was the time for Jesus to give a lesson on true greatness.  Jesus often spoke in contrasts and here He does not disappoint.  Imagine hearing this for the first time.  Let me break it down in very simple terms: greatness comes from servant-hood – slavery; first in line comes from being last in line; greatness comes from serving and giving your life away.  If you had never heard this before and your mother just asked for your greatness, what might you feel?

People have not changed; we still want recognition, position, better than average placement, and so on.  Jesus gave the opposite instruction telling people of all time that true greatness, for He was truly great, comes from being the slave of others all the way to the death, if necessary.  Who can you serve today? Who can you go out of the way to treat with undeserved kindness and honor?  If you even give a cup of cold water in the Lord’s name, there is reward for you are serving the one you are giving the water to. Do you want to transform you home, your work environment, or your dorm room?  You will transform your surroundings when you treat others better than yourself serving them for Christ’s sake because He so fully served you.

 

I am looking forward to Sunday as I will be back at Grace for Life bringing the morning message.  The text will be from 1 John 5:11-21 if you would like to read ahead.  This will be my last message before I leave on November 30th

Elianna continues to improve.  Her body is very weakened from six days of not moving and only getting nutrition through the I.V.  She is talking now and was glad to see her siblings yesterday.  They did determine that she has an allergy toward cat dander.  A few months ago Hadessah got a cat but Shadow is an outdoor only cat, nonetheless, it seems Elianna reacted to that toxin.  Keep praying with us for God’s to give strength to our little girl.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Our sick Elianna

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So many of you have been praying for Steven and Rachel’s daughter, Elianna.  Last Thursday night her lungs reacted to some airborne toxin which caused the lungs to swell.  The swelling was such that Elianna could not breathe.  There were a few moments during the next four hours that we did not know if she was going to live.  Thanks to a doctor at Rush Copely who demanded she be stabilized with a breathing tube and a respirator before she was transported to Rush Medical Center in Chicago.  Thanks to a doctor at Rush who took over Elianna’s case before she got there and acted quickly and decisively when she arrived there.  Most of all, thanks to God who gave wisdom and guidance to all who cared for her that dark night.  God has shown Himself loving and kind to our family and to Elianna.  We are thankful to God for His grace to us as He saved us from greater trials.  God Himself has been our Good Shepherd caring for the older and the younger sheep.

As of tonight, Elianna is still intubated but they have taken her off of the paralytic making sure she can breathe on her own.  Yesterday noon they turned off the respirator and she has been breathing on her own since.  Today they took a lung test and cleaned the lungs preparing to remove the tubes tomorrow.  The Lord, our good Shepherd, has carried his sheep through a dark time and we are now seeing the light of his healing and care.  Thanks to all who have uplifted our dear Elianna in your prayers.  We know our Lord has heard all of your prayers and continues to do so.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Jesus teaches on Creation and Marriage

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Matthew 19
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
In this teaching of Jesus, we have two distinct subjects of doctrine confirmed. First off, Jesus mentions that the God of heaven created men and women male and female. In this statement Jesus confirms the creation by God. Though He does not spell out the six days of creation, Jesus makes it very clear that He agrees with the OT Scriptures that teach about creation. Those who dismiss creation must dismiss that Jesus agreed with the Scriptures that God created human life.
There are those who agree that Jesus is a prophet. If we can agree that Jesus was a prophet (at the very least) then we must agree that what He taught was the Word of God. So, if a prophet of God taught that God created the earth and the life on the earth then we must agree that God created life, it did not evolve over time and chance but indeed was created by God, as Jesus taught.
The second doctrine taught here is that God instituted marriage, God united the first human couple, and that which God puts together men and women are not to separate. While there are teachings on divorce, Jesus’ point here is that God’s design was the best plan. Marriage is the unique design of God whereby two, a biological man and a biological woman, become one flesh. The one flesh relationship is a combination of sexual union, emotional union, and spiritual union. In God-designed marriage there is a fulfillment that is the result of God’s design.
God’s word is just that, it is God’s word. When God teaches us what He intended through His creation and His completion of that creation, we work best and are most fulfilled when we live life in God’s design. This teaching does not ignore the problems of sin; it does show us what God in His wisdom wanted for His creation.
As Bible-believers, there are teaching in the Bible that we follow because the Bible makes them clear. We follow those teachings by faith in the God who gave us the teachings. Regardless of what culture allows or encourages we come back to the Word of God and seek clarity from our Creator.

We got back Monday night and yesterday was a blur. It is good to be back and there is much to do this month. If you have any time and would like to help with projects, call us and let us know when you can help.
We spent time yesterday with Barb, Tony, and Joey. Do keep them and Violet in your prayers. The loss of Steven was a great loss and will be felt for a long time.
Here are some pictures of our trip. It was a great time together with wonderful family.
Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

A Psalm of God’s Heart for the Nations

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 Psalm 96:1-13 (ESV)

Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

96 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth!

2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

tell of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous works among all the peoples!

4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,

but the Lord made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him;

strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!

8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

bring an offering, and come into his courts!

9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth!

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;

he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;

let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

12 let the field exult, and everything in it!

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

13 before the Lord, for he comes,

for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness,

and the peoples in his faithfulness.

 Look back over this Psalm and identify the heart of God for nations and peoples.  As I read this Psalm I was even more drawn to our new ministry time in Indonesia.  God wants His message of His salvation to go to all people.  When we give God’s message to the nations and peoples of the world we are giving glory to Him.  

 Remember to pray for the nations of the world and the people in those nations to hear the glorious gospel of God’s grace and His offer of life through His Son. 

 A note of clarification, Steven Kirk’s funeral service is at 1:00.  After the funeral lunch is being served and all are welcome to stay with the family until 4:00 or whenever.  

Have a great day in the Lord, 

PS

 

A Fearful Result and A Warning to Us All

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Matthew 18
31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

In this conclusion to Jesus’ parable of the two debtors there is a fearful result and a warning. Often in the Scriptures we focus on passages to encourage us in difficult times, to give us strength in weak times, to help us overcome our enemies and to find comfort when troubled. So, when we come to a passage like this we tend to gloss over it quickly while we give it a quick shudder. Today we need to stop and pay a little attention to a great and fearful warning.

The first debtor who had been forgiven of an immense debt, (perhaps one days work times a hundred times ten thousand) went and shook a fellow slave for a debt equaling about 100 days wages (a sizeable yet payable debt.) When the master found out about this incredible lack of compassion he called the first slave in and asked him if had been forgiven 10,000 talents of debt and then asked why he would not forgive his fellow slave of a 100-talent debt. Unable to answer, the unforgiving slave heard the master restore the 10,000-talent debt to him and remand him to the torturers until the entire debt was literally worked and beaten out of him. Thankfully this is a parable that did not really happen but was told to make a point. Jesus continues then to the point of His story.
In verse 35 Jesus makes this fearful point: “So My Heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” There are different ideas as to what Jesus meant by this; I think Jesus simply meant this: “You don’t want to find out what My Heavenly Father will do if you live an unforgiving life.”

How can we live a forgiving life? According to this parable, we live a forgiving life when we realize that we live as forgiven people. We who were lost are now found. We who were blind can now see. We who were dead are now alive. We who were orphaned are now in a family. Christ’s death on the cross eternally removed our sins from before the Father. Nothing we have done or will do can undo what the forgiveness of Christ has done. Who then can we hold anything against? But furthermore, knowing the judgement of God on those who don’t forgive, we should never want to face God as one who refused to forgive. “Let not the sun go down on your anger…” “As you stand praying, forgive…”

Some of you are waiting for the time of the funeral service for Steven Kirk. I got it yesterday and wanted to pass it on to you. It is Saturday, October 27th from 1:00-4:00 at Grace for Life Bible Church in Naperville. Violet has posted this on her Facebook page too. Remember to continue in prayer for this hurting family as they try to wrap their minds, hearts, and lives around so great of a loss.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Steve, Owen, Carson 1