Category Archives: Bible

(Isaiah 1-3) I Feel Sorry For Him

God is always speaking to His children. He’s either revealing Himself through His Word, or through His creation, or sometimes in circumstances of life – both good and bad – and sometimes He speaks through the words of a friend.

God spoke to me through the words of a dear friend this week, and then reinforced what He wanted me to understand through the vision Isaiah wrote about in these chapters I read this morning. The other day my friend, who is reading in Genesis, said she realized how much sin breaks God heart; how He created a perfect world for Adam and Eve whose sin destroyed the perfection; how He started over with Noah and his family whose sin once again destroyed what could have been the perfect relationship with God.

My friend said she felt sorry for God because we just keep failing Him. I agreed with her, knowing I’m guilty of failing Him, too.

So when I read Isaiah this morning I read what God thinks about sin, and about His judgment. I heard anger and frustration in God’s voice. But then I read what Warren Wiersbe said on page 453 in “With the Word” (Thomas Nelson Publishers; 1991):

“Sin breaks God’s heart, cheapens a nation or an individual, and invites the judgment of God. God graciously offers His forgiveness if we will repent. (1:18-20)”

So I re-read what Isaiah shared in chapter one, and I heard God’s heart breaking. Instead of reading anger, I read a Father’s pleading with His children to come to Him, to obey and be blessed by Him rather than having to be punished by Him. And then to know that He Himself took on the punishment my sins deserve. I am overcome.

Sin breaks God’s heart. My sin. Your sin. The sin of a nation. Are you ok with that? Am I? We might think our sin is no big deal. Maybe we need to look at our sin through God’s eyes. Shame on us if we don’t. Shame on us if we allow our choices to break His heart.

(Song of Solomon 5-8) Love Is Not All There Is

Yesterday my prayer was that I would love God like He deserves, with a passionate, all-consuming, pure kind of love. Today, I am reminded that’s not enough.

I need to act on that love. A former pastor always said, “Love is something you DO.” So reading these chapters today I realize how important it is that I GO when He calls, I need to INVITE Him to come to me. I need to GIVE to Him, SHOW my love in private and in public, LISTEN to Him, choose to STAY with Him.

I am reminded that simply feeling love for and even feeling loved by Him, isn’t love at all. I mean I love my piano. But if I don’t play it, it’s just furniture gathering dust.

My prayer today is that my love for my Beloved Savior will be something you could notice in the words I say, the things I do, even the look on my face. Let it be known that I love the Lord. Let me show you what that looks like.

(Ecclesiastes 5-7) Guard Your Steps

Solomon is speaking as a man who literally had an abundance of everything. The wisest, richest, most powerful, most respected, most famous person of his time had a thousand women at his beck and call, and was miserable.

His search for happiness and fulfillment apart from God could not be found no matter how hard he tried or how much money he spent. Much of the wisdom he spoke came from a dark place in his life.

That being said, there is much we can learn from the king’s experience.

Things about worship: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” (5:1) Approach God in obedience, don’t be hasty to speak, don’t promise God something you can’t fulfill.

Things about wealth: use what you have to help the poor, don’t allow gaining wealth prevent you from enjoying what you have, live a balanced life with both work and rest.

Things about wisdom: pursue it, but don’t accept everything you hear. Know the difference between wise and foolish counsel by knowing God.

Yes, Solomon was in a dark place when he wrote this book. Scripture tells us that toward the end of his life he actually began worshiping the pretend gods of his foreign wives.

Let this be a warning. And let Solomon’s experience and his questions encourage us to “guard our steps” as we approach God, as we protect our walk with our Savior. Because the further we get from Him, the darker our world becomes.

(Proverbs 28-31) Read It For The Change

These proverbs – any proverb, really – aren’t meant to be taken materially as much as figuratively and, more importantly, spiritually. You don’t read verses like 29:15, then go out and buy a metal rod or a wood dowel to beat your child with. 28:27 isn’t promising financial wealth for people who give to charity.

If a proverb speaks of a man, and another speaks of a woman, neither verse is gender specific. The lesson can and should be applied to all of us. But… if you read a proverb like 29:3, and are offended at the example of a man, a father, and a female prostitute because of the wording of the proverb, Satan has successfully thrown a barrier between you and the truth God wants you too see.

If you read Proverbs 31:10-21, and limit yourself to thinking these verses are intended to teach young women how to be good wives, Satan has placed a barrier between you and the truth God wants you to learn as you consider your own walk with Him.

You, men. You, women. You, Church.

Because those verses are not just about being a good wife, although that is absolutely what it is teaching. It is also a beautiful picture of what I as a follower of Jesus should look like to my neighbors. It’s a beautiful picture of what the Bride of Christ, the Church – your church fellowship – needs to look like to the world.

A while back I was in a class where the teacher was using these verses, speaking quite literally about how wives need to treat their husbands. It was a good and challenging lesson to the married women there. But the teacher had no application for those of us who were unmarried.

At the end of the lesson, she asked for comments or questions. I complimented her on her lesson, then shared that I had heard a sermon years ago on these same verses in regard to the Church as the Bride of Christ. I said it had challenged me in my own walk with the Lord, and my role in my church fellowship.

She was silent. Then she said, “We need to be careful not to make Scripture say what it doesn’t say.”

Now, I agree with that 100%. But I also think we need to be careful not to ignore the lessons the Scripture teaches by limiting ourselves to a material interpretation only.

I share that to challenge you to read God’s Word and how it applies to you. I don’t want you to read verses like these in Proverbs and think God doesn’t have something He wants you to consider for yourself. All Scripture is God breathed and profitable to instruct, correct, and equip you for serving Him.

There is something in every verse that can encourage or convict you, cause you to rejoice or mourn. Don’t just read it for the knowledge. Read it for the change God wants to see in you.

Let Him speak to you, discipline you, equip you to be the servant you are. If you read it, and it doesn’t speak directly to your heart, read it again. That just means you weren’t paying attention the first time, because there IS a lesson for you in the pages of God’s Word every time you read it.

Read it. Read it again. Let it change you.

(Proverbs 14-17) Do You Compromise?

If you don’t have a copy of Warren Wiersbe’s “With the Word, Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook,” I highly recommend you get one. Not to be used in place of reading Scripture for yourself, of course. I often will read a chapter (or several) in my Bible during my morning devotional time, then look to see how Wiersbe summarized them. Many times reading what Wiersbe said prompts me to go back to my Bible and re-read all or parts of those passages again, and let God be the final authority.

This handbook has been especially useful for me as I’ve been reading Solomon’s proverbs. Today, Wiersbe pointed out Proverbs 14 challenges the words I say, Chapter 15 challenges me about my heart’s condition.

It’s a question Wiersbe asked in his comments on page 423 concerning Chapter 17 that has me thinking. Actually, a series of questions:

What do you listen to?
What do you rejoice in?
What do you talk about?
What do you get angry at?
What do you give in to?

He points us to the verses in Chapter 17 that speak to each of those questions. It’s been a good study for me this morning.

But it’s his last question I find myself considering as I examine my heart today. It has me asking myself if I compromise on what I know to be true according to God’s Word. Wiersbe asks:

“Is your conscience for sale?”

Is yours?

(Word by Word; Warren Wiersbe; Thomas Nelson Press; Nashville; 1991; pages 421-423)

(Proverbs 10-11) Interpreting Proverbs

Proverbs can be confusing if we try to interpret them though a material lens. A proverb might say a good person lives long and an evil person dies young (10:27) when experience tells us that is not always so. A proverb may suggest good people are always rewarded and evil people are always punished (10:16) but that’s not necessarily true, either…

IF we are only considering our physical life on this earth.

The greater truth of proverbs is 100% true 100% of the time. For instance, the righteous ARE rewarded, maybe not with checks in the mail, but with peace and joy and forgiveness and fellowship with God, AND they will never die!

Those who reject God live in bondage to the sin they refuse to confess, and life on this earth will end in an eternal death – where they will be conscious of their excruciating punishment forever, according to Scripture.

Yes, many of the proverbs apply to the physical, day to day living, and tell us how we should treat each other, what our character ought to be. Most of the time we read those and get the message pretty easily. But even the proverbs that seem to contradict what the rest of Scripture teaches, or what our experiences have taught us, can and do apply to our spirit. They give us a bigger picture of the result of how we live in this life, our choices to be honest or dishonest, kind or unkind, generous or stingy, good or bad.

John MacArthur said somethings that helps me look at the proverbs with greater understanding:

“Given the context that surrounds Proverbs – the rest of God’s Word – a student’s failure to grasp a proverb ought not to lead to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with the proverb. A better conclusion would be that the student doesn’t know enough yet or hasn’t paid enough attention. A wise person puts an elusive proverb on hold for further understanding rather than rejecting it as useless. God’s further lessons in that person’s life may well cast a new light on parts of the Bible that have been difficult to interpret.” (The MacArthur Bible Handbook; Thomas Nelson, Inc; Nashville; 2003; p 166)

So let me encourage you to not give up on the proverbs just because you run across some that seem confusing, or even contradictory. Slow down. Look up and consider the bigger picture, the rest of God’s Word. And when necessary, move on. God will give you the interpretation and application at exactly the right time for you.

(Proverbs 8-9) Logic and Folly

It’s funny to me that while this apologetics study Bible I am using this year has an article about logic, logic is not always applied in its commentaries. On the page facing the article entitled “Is Logic Arbitrary?” by David K. Clark (CSB Apologetics Study Bible; Holman Bible Publishers; Nashville; 2017; page 758), the commentator (probably not Clark) wanted us to know that 9:13-18 weren’t intended to demean women. They, the author explained, apply to a “certain type of woman,” a foolish and immoral woman.

Logic tells me these verses are not about any woman at all. These verses are about folly, foolishness, and applies to humans. Solomon could have used a silly man as an example and the verses would mean exactly the same.

We are all tempted by foolish desires. We all listen to lies and wonder if they are true. Every one of us can be lured into acting foolishly, believing foolishness to be true, and not even realize that we join the ranks of the condemned when we do.

This whole gender sensitive narrative being touted these days is an example. It’s foolishness, lacks logic, and is blindly accepted by foolish, illogical people – men and women.

Sadly, it seems you can even find it in our Study Bibles.

(Proverbs 1-2) Proverbs to Ponder

In the past, I have found the book of Proverbs to be a mishmash of catchy phrases. Some have challenged me in my walk with the Lord. Some make me laugh out loud. Some are hard to make sense out of, and some on the surface, are just plain wrong.

I read these two chapters today, then commentaries written by Henry, Wiersbe, MacArthur, and Wesley, and realized I’ve neglected something very important as I’ve read this collection of proverbs in the past. The crux of the matter is, if I want this book to teach me, to grow me, to change me, then I need to approach each verse keeping 1:7 in the forefront:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”

As I read these proverbs I want to focus on God and hear how they apply to my relationship with Him. Rather than trying to make sense of the words, I want to see the spiritual truth behind the words. If I look at these verses as a metaphor for my walk with the Lord, I believe I’ll find the wisdom God would give me.

I started reading about “them” today. Wise people and fools, young people, sons and parents, prostitutes, etc. It was easy to look out toward others who were foolish and think this book is about them.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”

I read these chapters again, this time understanding that, although the author is using certain people as examples, the lesson here applies to me. The “you” of it became the “me” of it; my tendency to reject my own mother’s teaching, to be enticed by the world’s attraction, to be lured by its pleasures, and to go along with Christian sounding teaching which in reality is apostasy.

I hear God warn me that if I persist in this foolishness, there will be at time when I will call out to Him, and He won’t answer. Yes, Connie. God is warning you!

I hear God challenge ME to read His Word, memorize it, trust it, listen closely and obey it. Then He will give me wisdom and knowledge, He’ll shield me, and guard my path toward Him and away from the enemy.

Wisdom will enter my heart and knowledge will delight (me).” (2:10)

So I’m ready to take on these proverbs, fearing God and asking Him to teach me. This time around I’m not just going to read them, I’m going to ponder the proverbs and apply them to my daily walk and my spiritual health and well-being. God has some wisdom to give me.

Let’s do this!

(Psalms 146-150) Praise and Worship

The final psalms center around worship, the how’s and why’s of it. My take-away is that worship must come from our hearts as well as our minds, and praising God must be the natural outpouring of receiving His grace. Worship must focus on God and should not be used to make us feel good, or spiritual, or blessed. Our praise should not have to be choreographed, but should be God-inspired and led.

Why? Because our Holy God demands we put aside our selves and worship Him for who He is and what He has done. I think we sing “I” too many times in our Sunday morning praise songs these days.

These psalms remind me that we can – and should – worship God from surrendered hearts all the time, not just on Sunday morning. The creation compels us to worship the Creator!

In fact, Warren Wiersbe, in his “Be Exultant” commentary, (David C. Cook, publisher; 2004; page 218) said something that hit me. “Without the private worship, we are but hypocrites at public worship.”

How do you balance emotion and intellect when you worship and praise God? I’m not sure worship that is all emotion pleases God any more than worship devoid of emotion. But how do you meld the two into praise and worship that pleases God?

I believe, after looking more closely at the psalms these last few weeks, that if we are truly focused on God in our worship of Him, if our hearts are clean, our sins confessed and forgiven, our wills surrendered to Him, and if we use our minds to consider God’s character, His Presence, His faithfulness in the past, etc., our praise will flow naturally and freely. Our worship will be a perfect balance of emotion and intellect.

God alone is worthy of our careful and purposeful worship, and not just one day a week. God deserves our heartfelt praise because He is worthy.

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah! (Psalm 150:6)

(Psalm 143) What We Want

What do you want? Think about that for a minute. What are some things you work toward, things you consider worthy of your time and energy? What do you pray for? David shared his wish list with us, and I think it’s a pretty good one:

  1. That God would reveal Himself to David. David wrote Scripture. He didn’t have God’s complete Word in front of him like we do. Do you want to meet God face to face? Read your Bible!
  2. That he would experience God’s love. Did you wake up this morning? You did because God loves you. Do you know Jesus as your Savior? His love sent Jesus to the cross for you. Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s knowing that you can rest in God because He IS love.
  3. That he would know what to do. I believe Psalm 119:105 tells us how we can know. God’s Word shows us the way. Isaiah 30:21 tells us God will use His Word to tell us plainly, “This is the way. Walk in it.”
  4. That God would protect him. Ephesians 6 describes the armor of God available to all Christians. If you read Scripture you will discover many accounts of God’s protection for His obedient children. God’s not going to leave us hanging, if we are obeying Him.
  5. That he would know God’s will. 2 Timothy 2:15 points us again to God’s Word. Study it. Learn it. God wants to teach you His will. And He does that when we read the Bible.
  6. That God’s Spirit would guide him. Hebrews 13:5 tells us God says, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” as a result of our obedience.

That’s a pretty good list, don’t you think? I believe God wanted those things for David, too. And I am sure it’s what God wants for each of us as well.

What do you want?