Scripture: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV
Observation: This proverb instructs that the arrogant fail and fall.
Application: Take it from me, arrogant people get humbled. It’s not a source of pride for me to admit but I’ve dealt with this myself. I pray for humility from God so that he never has to humble me again.
Prayer: Father, help me to be humble and consider others before myself. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Luke 12:10 NIV
Observation: I’ve often wondered how a person can blaspheme the Holy Spirit and not be forgiven. I went searching in the “Notes” of my YouVersion bible and I found the following. I hope that it helps you understand too.
Application: “Unforgivable Sin” by karensigman
“I have never totally understood the unforgivable sin. When I read verse 10 I got out my life application bible and looked to see what it said. “Jesus said that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. This has worried many sincere Christians, but it does not need to. The unforgivable sin means attributing to Satan the work that the Holy Spirit accomplishes. Thus it is deliberate and ongoing rejection of the Holy Spirit’s work and even of God himself. A person who has committed this sin has shut himself or herself off from God so thoroughly that he or she is unaware of any sin at all. A person who fears having committed it shows, by his or her very concern, that he or she has not sinned in this way.” This helped me a lot. I hope it helps someone who is reading this.”
Prayer: Father, I pray that I never sin against any part of your character. Amen
Scripture: Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. 1Corinthians 8:13NIV
Observation: We have an obligation to those around us to not do anything that may cause them to sin. If our behavior causes another to fall we need to reconsider our behavior.
Application: We must defy our flesh and allow the Spirit to guide our behavior.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, guide my steps. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
Scripture: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 NIV
Observation: The author speaks a truth that I seldom consider, “that woman I held the door open for or that cashier at the grocery store, may have been an angel!”
Application: I believe that clearly I should make every effort to treat all people with kindness. That’s really the answer to W. W. J. D?
Prayer: Father, help me to always treat others just as Jesus would, with kindness. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the Lord your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” “I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. Jeremiah 42:1-5 NIV
He said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: ‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the Lord, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. Jeremiah 42:9-11 NIV
Observation: The Jewish remnant is in their land and their leaders ask Jeremiah to pray for guidance from the Lord as to what they should do. I was particularly struck by the way the Jews asked Jeremiah to pray for them, “…pray to the Lord your God…” Jeremiah put it right back on them and told them he would seek guidance from “their God.” I thought that these interpretations from the original texts were odd. Surely the Jews had misspoke in their request.
Application: As I read on in Jeremiah 43 it became clear, “When Jeremiah finished telling the people all the words of the Lord their God—everything the Lord had sent him to tell them— Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, ‘You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, “You must not go to Egypt to settle there.” ‘ ” Jeremiah 43:1&2 NIV They asked Jeremiah to seek of his Lord because they had become so corrupted over time that they truly did not know God…not unlike a certain country that I live in and love. Like the nation of Israel, America has lost its way; its moral compass. This country was founded on Christian principles, faith in God, freedom to worship. Like that remnant of Israel our country denies God’s sovereignty or the need to cede to any “higher” authority than man. We are certainly the worse for it! We are in desperate need for God to extend grace to us and save us from ourselves.
Prayer: Father, you are sovereign! I ask that you save this country from itself. We don’t deserve your grace but we need it desperately. We have done everything within our power to offend you and to deny, defy, and distance ourselves from your Devine protection. I’m ashamed of what America has become in many ways because we have thrown you out of every aspect of our lives and our society. Forgive us, Father. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. John 16:2&3 NIV
Observation: Jesus is speaking of how his disciples will be treated by the synagogue rulers.
Application: As I read this passage I was reminded of the protest group from the Topeka, KS church, Westboro Baptist. Much like the synagogue leaders whom Jesus said would seek the lives of the disciples as a “service to God,” the Topeka protestors flout their biblical knowledge, (specifically in Leviticus 18), and revel in the misery of others as a means of providing a “service to God.” They took a godly truth, “do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable,” Leviticus 18:22 NIV, and they turned it into a means for punishing innocent by-standers; the families of the fallen soldiers. Their premiss is that American soldiers die as God’s punishment of America for the acceptance of homosexuality. It seems to me that while they are biblically accurate about homosexuality, their “service to God” by assuming the mantle of modern day pseudo prophets is more damaging to the cause of Christianity than it is helpful. Sadly, they don’t care and I believe that they don’t care because “they will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” John 16:3 NIV
Prayer: Father, help me to care about the souls of others. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. John 12:5,6 NIV
Observation: John writes about the hypocritical words that Judas spoke from his hypocritical heart.
Application: Often times when I read scripture I find myself reading the stories of the liars and thieves, like Judas, and I think “what a creep, I would never do that, or think that way! I’m better than that person!” Wrong, wrong, wrong! That attitude just sets a person like me up for a fall. It is that non-humble, arrogant, holier-than-thou attitude that makes guys like me “ripe pickins” for Satan. Understanding that I’m no better than the next guy and knowing that only through God’s grace and the power of the Spirit that I’m different protects me from my arrogant self.
Prayer: Thank you Lord! Praise God that your strength and the indwelling of the Spirit protect me from myself. Amen
Scripture: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
Observation: Peter tells us that the Lord doesn’t want anyone to die unrepentant.
Application: I believe that I have a great responsibility specifically to some family members and loved ones to continue to show Christlikeness before them. I know from scripture that my former life can interfere with how those who know me best accept or reject my witness, “…and they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ ” Matthew 13:57 NIV Don’t misunderstand, I’m not claiming to be Christ or a prophet, I just believe that, like Christ was rejected, I too can have a most difficult time convincing my loved ones to follow Christ. I can be a stumbling block that causes them to not come to repentance. So I must “mush on” and no matter how poor an example my earlier life was to my family and friends I must love them through that and live Christ before them because, “…he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9b NIV
Prayer: Father, it’s very difficult for me to share you with some of my family and friends–they know me! Help me to show you and not me so that they can know that life can be different living for you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
Scripture: “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.” Isaiah 51:7 NIV
Observation: Some people know the Lord in their hearts, (Christians). They will be subjected to mistreatment and insults. Isaiah tells us to fear not!
Application: Once again I see scripture telling me to persevere through hardship because I have nothing to fear. Laurie and I are back in California wrapping up mother-in-law housing. This trip has not started out well. Satan is attacking from all sides trying to get us to cry “uncle.” It’s not going to work, he will not win. Laurie and I purposed it in our hearts to stop letting worldly pressures mold our attitudes. We have taken to praying through each step as we progress through our many tasks each day. Satan knows and he keeps attacking trying to break us. It hasn’t been any easier for us yet, but we’re going about our various duties and projects with smiles on our faces. We are laughing at the absurdity of one crisis piled upon another and another. We know that Satan doesn’t want us to react this way and he’s turning up the heat. The other day my son Andrew, the pastor, said something very enlightening to me after knowing that I had been struggling with attitude through crisis. He said, “it’s easy to act like a Christian, now try reacting like one!” He nailed my issue and my weakness in one small phrase. Laurie and I are in the snake pit; we are on Satan’s turf. Pray for our resolve to be strong and for us to always react like Christians.
Prayer: Father, help Laurie and me to honor you as we are stressed to breaking and tested by Satan at every turn. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen