The Facts (Part 1)

A quote from the New York Times: “Here’s a pop quiz. Rank the following in order of the number of American lives they claim in a typical year: food, guns, terrorists, flu and cars.
Ready? The most deadly are automobiles, which kill 117 Americans a day, or nearly 43,000 a year. Then comes flu, which (along with pneumonia, its associated disease) kills 36,000 people. Third is guns: 26,000 deaths. Fourth, food-borne illness: 5,000.“
Staggering to think about and also to look at the number of those traffic deaths that are impaired drivers. It is a large number. Sadly the number of deaths due to distracted driving is on the increase too. So if people would take to this simple teaching how many would not perish? Don’t drive too fast. Don’t drive after drinking, Put the cell phone in the trunk when driving. Will anyone do this? You could save your life, a friend’s life a family member’s life or someone else’s life.
This is a great example of how it goes with witnessing, sharing the Good News. The facts are laid out and clear yet too many just ignore the facts. But just as MADD does not stop proclaiming the facts on drunk driving and they plead to stop driving after drinking so I hope that all that are believers would share the hope of Jesus Christ our LORD.

Proverbs 23:20 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat
Echo! God is very clear and direct with these two items. We are not to over drink or over eat. This means that some (and I am one of them) don’t drink at all. Now if only I could get the eating part right. The eating part is the much more difficult for me and I know it is harmful on two fronts. First it is not healthy. Think of the high amount of heart attacks and diabetes in this nation plus other weight relayed health problems. Second and more importantly it is sin against God to over eat. That is serious.

Proverbs 23:21 for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.
God says there is a price to pay for too much drink or eating. Now God adds in over sleeping. Too much sleep also has consequences. Do you see the teaching? We are to have a balanced life and to rest and eat in honor of the Lord and to have the focus He wants us to have. It seems clear to there are some good eating principles – drink plenty of water, stay away from sugar and artificial sweeteners and chemicals on and in your food. If you cannot pronounce the ingredient you should not eat the “food”. Keep the amount of meat and carbs down. Now if only I could live this out better.

Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Echo! How do you treat your parents? What place have you given to your parents in your life? I know it can be different in different parts of each of our lives. But, the right thing to do it to honor them and listen to them.

Proverbs 23:23 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
Jammed packed verse! God knows the best things in life. And here is a solid list – truth; wisdom; instruction; understanding. Base all those on the LORD and His Word and I will show you a life blessed and fruitful.

Proverbs 23:24, 25 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.
Echo! Are you smiling? I know I am just having some fun with the echo principal of Proverbs but again we see how much of a blessing and cool thing it is to have children that love the Lord and obey Him. To me it is even more than being glad, it is overwhelming joy and delight.

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.
Listen closely to this. Give your heart to God! Have your eye on the LORD. Read this over. Now take measure of where you are in those two areas.

Proverbs 23:27,28 For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind.
As easy as men can destroy a women so a man can be destroyed by a women. But it is a choice, a choice we make every day. Do we protect our marriage and our family or do we give in to our flesh?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

It's All About Heart!

We hear that often when talking about athletes. They have the heart to succeed. They have the heart to overcome. What does this mean? What it means is they are really focused. They are driven to overcome obstacles. They will push through the pain. They will push through being tired. They will focus longer than most.
Heart is so important in our life and even more so in our spiritual life. Our heart has to be in the right place.

Proverbs 23:10,11 Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.
Big Daddy Weave has a song named “Redeemed” that I really like. It reminds us how much God loves us even when we are unworthy and do not deserve His love, forgiveness, grace, mercy or redemption. Jesus is our Redeemer!!! Stop and really think about that. Do you need to be redeemed or are you good? I know what side I fall on that, and fall I have, in need!

Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
Not that we should take our theology from music but when I read this verse I am reminded of another set of songs named “Hide em in Your Heart”. Steve Green made two albums of Scripture to music and they are cool to learn and help me remember verse. How important it is to get Scripture driven into our lives and hearts. It is one of the great gifts the LORD has shared with us and given to us. Don’t miss it. One of our best examples of the importance of Scripture at the ready is as Jesus was tempted by Satan and Satan misquoted Scripture Jesus came back with the truth found in His Word. Are you prepared? Do you have God’s Word at the ready? I pray you have invested the time and effort in that area.

Proverbs 23:13, 14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.
We have covered this topic several times in our study of Proverbs but in God’s providence He echoes it again. God reminds us there is a place for discipline. We have to have the right balance on it. We can’t be out of control. We can’t be emotionally driven or punishing. It has to be controlled and with the goal of correction and reminding. So, be careful with this.

Proverbs 23:15, 16 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right.
Children, want to bless your parents? Do you want to give them a gift? Do you want to give them some joy? Be wise, make godly choices, fear the LORD and bring pleasure to the Creator. There are few things that bring delight to a parent more than when they hear their child with words that are right as in truth, as in love, as in caring, as in speaking Scripture. I love hearing my kids recite verses,

Proverbs 23:17 Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
Number 16 of 21 for those keep track. Yes this is the 16th time in Proverbs talking about the fear of the LORD. This time it is tied to continuous. We are to continually fear the LORD. Look at the contrast. We are not to envy the sinner. We are to fear the LORD. Stop and really think about that. Ask the question, do I envy sin and, or sinners? I know it is easy for me to. It is much more challenging to fear the LORD day in and day out.

Proverbs 23:18 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Two powerful words used here – surely (sure) and hope. God is a sure thing. We can trust every word that comes from God. We can trust the Bible. We can also place our hope in Him. There is something to look forward to and I pray none would miss it. I would pray all would turn in repentance to Him. Don’t miss out.

Proverbs 23:19 Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.
We have to hear and obey to be wise and to be directed by the LORD. DO you listen to the LORD? Are you intentional? Is there an overriding focus in your life?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Compass

First on this weekend we must thank each and every person that has and is serving in the military. We enjoy the freedoms of this nation because of the sacrifices they have made. THANK YOU!

Do you ever use a compass or am I dating myself to a past time? My guess is many don’t even know how to use one. They still are used by some hiking, camping, etc. A compass helps in finding directions to help a person know where they are and how to get where they want to go.
In this country we have lost our moral and spiritual compass. It is sad to see. Even more of a heart break is to see churches that have lost their way. Too many have a broken moral compass. It is just pointed at self. Do you look at life and your choices and really think what the LORD calls right and wrong? Starting with salvation we need to be and should want to be in agreement with the LORD. Don’t go the wrong direction. Don’t be one of those that is lost?

Proverbs 23:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you
Have you been to an expensive restaurant? So many pieces of silverware. Which one do I use first? You want to make a right choice. God is giving us this example because we should want to be careful in what we do at a special dinner so should we be careful with our life for Jesus. We should be paying attention and we should want to make the right choice in God’s eyes.

Proverbs 23:2,3 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.
Seems like a pretty aggressive statement but God is just bring out that He is serious about what it takes to satisfy us. I am not one to speak here as I struggle with overeating but it is clear that God is serious about the amount of food we take in and our health.

Proverbs 23:4,5 Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.
So why work hard you might be thinking. I know people that are fixated on getting rich. I know people that want to get rich at the cost of others and try to scam their way to “wealth”. God clearly does not approve of that. He does allow some to amass a lot of money, usually it is those with the gift of giving. Have you looked at how you make and gather money? So why work hard? So that we can point attention to the LORD that is why.

Proverbs 23:6 Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies,
Don’t take from others is the message here. Work hard to please the LORD and He will give you what is the correct amount of pay. This is much of America’s problem. Those that have want and take more leaving some behind. God wants us to just be fair and realistic.

Proverbs 23:7 for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.
We also see this far too often in America. So many are on the scam just looking out for self and not the good of others. They talk a good game but they are really just after the money. It makes me sick how many scammers there are out there trolling around looking for victims for their self means. Don’t be one of them! They sound so sweet and innocent. They say are going to help you so much or make you happy.

Proverbs 23:9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.
Be careful with the conversations you are involved with. It is easy to get sucked into things that are foolish or even down right evil in subject. So be selective.

Let’s tie back to the opening statements. Do you have the compass you need in life? Have you found the directions to God? Let me share what path, what direction I see. Do you know we are all are sinners? Yes I am, and so are you. God says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and thus are separated from Him. God says there is eternity, Heaven and Hell. He tells us there is only one way and that way is Jesus. He says the only way to be saved is to call on Jesus as LORD and receive Him and His free gift. We cannot be saved by praying a prayer and not changing. We can’t be saved by adding Jesus a little here and a little there. Instead salvation should be a radical change of direction. Going our way but then turning and going God’s way. It is called repentance! I hope you grab hold of the compass God wants and change to His directions.

The Bible is our compass. I hope you are reading it daily and getting the direction God desires to give you.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Don’t Just be a Spectator

The NASCAR season has started and now the local season has start. I don’t really keep up or watch much NASCAR but I do enjoy the local touring series and tracks. What is one of the big differences between the big three and local racing? We know the people and are close to the action and the people. It is not just on TV. You get the smell and the sounds up close. With local racing you feel like more than just a spectator, you feel and are connected.
The same can be said about church. We can be just spectators in church too and that is not good. We want to be involved, up close and personally connected. Does that describe you and the Lord and you and your involvement in church?

Proverbs 22:22-23 Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them.
Thirty-five times the word “poor” is used in Proverbs. I think it is very clear what God wants our response to the needy, to the poor to be. There are a lot of good organizations that tend to the needs of poor and we can just give a dollar here and there or many dollars and let someone else tend to the poor or we can identify those around us that have a need. The tough thing for me is that here we have few that are in real need compared to some parts of the world where poor means no home, little food, little clothing. That is poor. Be intentional in your help.
Also, don’t just give money to other. That is too easy. Instead serve yourself. Go down to the food pantry, go to the shelter and work. Ladies, go to the Women’s Access Center. Serve a holiday meal or go to Chicago and serve meals at PGM. Get involved and see if God drives you to pray in a much different way and give in a much different way.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
This too is a pin-point teaching. God does not want to see anger in our heart as it comes out of our life and harms others and harms the angry person. Catch the second verse here that talks about how anger overflows in other lives. If you want to protect your family and friends put away anger because anger is a snare and entangles us and hurts others too. Don’t get caught up in it. Instead live in peace, in joy, in happiness of the LORD. We know anger is just selfishness flowing out. We know it is wrong when a little one stomps their feet or flops themselves on the floor but we adults can do the same thing.

Proverbs 22:26 Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts.
This is an interesting verse. Does this mean no leans, no debt, no co-sign? We live in a much different country where the norm is to have debt, to take a loan, to borrow. I think we need to take a long hard look at that and each individual and each family needs to discern what the LORD would be calling them to. I am pretty clear on where I stand and that may not be for you but please carefully study this.
This could become even more important if we see the end of a nation approaching or if we do enter the end times.

Proverbs 22:27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?
This is a tough verse for me. Is it saying that we give a free pass to those that owe us money? That does not seem to be true because it also says in Proverbs to pay back what you owe. Could it be the expectation of being paid back? Or is it saying we are to give to the truly needy and not expect anything in return? I am going to let you study this out and determine what God is saying. I do think it is clear we are not to hold it over someone’s head that we will take their things to live on – food; clothing; shelter. So the question lies more with what is excess.

Proverbs 22:28 Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.
This goes back to dealing with honesty. Be honest in your work, in your purchasing, in your selling, in your words. One of the great reasons we can trust in God is He is honest, He is pure, He is holy in all He says and does. We are to be just that too. Can you be counted upon? Do you speak the truth? When you say, “I will do ‘such and such’” will it happen? Don’t be a manipulator or play games with those around you.
Be honest.

Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
God gives us work. God gives us the talent. God opens and closes doors. Don’t force open a closed door just walk through the open doors. In your deals be proud of your work that God has given to you and you have obeyed. Give Him the credit. Remember to be thankful and have your priorities right. And remember take God calls us. If you are saved the LORD has placed a call on your life.
This work has to include what God has called you to in serving Him. Don’t miss that part or you will be a spectator and in what really counts, the work of loving God and serving Him to bring Him glory and pleasure. Don’t sit on the sidelines or in the stands. Get involved.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Two Parts - Listen and Apply

There are days that are just tough at the track. You unload and the car just is not right, the speed just not there and you never get close. There are days that are just tough on the job. There are days that are tough at school. There are days that are tough in the marriage or family. You get the picture.
What is one way to help on those tough days? One thing to do is to listen well. I mean you are able to repeat back what you have been told or what is said. I was given a good question a couple of week ago. Do you wait to talk? Most people would say, why yes I do but it is a trick question in that we should not wait to talk, we should be listening and not think how we are going to respond. Another thing is to apply what you know is right. It is amazing what God can do when we listen to Him and apply what we know is right in His eyes and do those right things. Now back to Proverbs

Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
Back on the subject of discipline of children. We live in such an interesting time. I work around many young people and there are many outstanding kids but there is also a good number that seem to not have a clue of what work is. Worse is there is a number that don’t know what the words respect your elders mean. There was a day when we looked up and honored those with age on their side. We watched them and learned from them. That was a segue, now back on topic. Discipline is important in development, that is, appropriate discipline. There is a pretty clear line between abuse and discipline. Part of it is the heart of the one administrating the discipline and the control used. The is also the part of the child and that is to learn and obey.

Proverbs 22:16 Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Clear?! Echo?! I think so. God cares deeply for the poor. That is an interesting statement. If God cares so much why are there poor? Because God uses those with little material things to show His kindness. The second part is because God wants to see our response. Because our response measures our humility. Careful if you are rich and many of us, ok most if not all of us are rich compared to much of the world and compared to even 30 years ago. Look at our houses and how “full” they are.

Proverbs 22:17 Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge,
Two parts – listen and apply.
Listen – we have talked about it a lot in Proverbs but we are reminded again that we are to listen to just anyone and anything. WRONG! We are to listen to the wise and there is One that is wise, the LORD God, Jesus Christ, God the Father and God the Spirit. We are to surround ourselves with wise men and women, those filled with the Spirit and the Word. Are you careful about those you are around and in close relationship with and to? And what are you allowing in?
Apply – If we are willing to act on what we read in the Bible it will change our life and change it for the better. We need to live out James and do what the Word says. Are you? Are you reading and studying with purpose if change in mind? With the purpose of sanctification in mind? With the purpose of revival, repentance, growth in mind?

Proverbs 22:18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips.
Part 1 – Keep – We need to hang on to God’s Word. We need to hang on to it in such a way that it and we are at the ready. Think of it this way. If you are hanging over the edge of a cliff and the rope is God’s Word, imagine the grip you would have. You would not want to fall to your death. Yet we hang over the damage of sin and without a firm grip on God’s Word and wonder why…
Dear LORD, help me to remember your word and to prepare.
Part 2 – Ready – we are to be ready in season and out of season. There is a big difference from being ready for a test and life and the opportunities life bring. Yes, it is good to practice. It is good to test but it is the race that really counts. It is those opportunities in life that real matter. That is why we must know God’s word and be ready with it to obey and act.

Proverbs 22:19 That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even to you.
We have talked about it before and asked the same question but again, who and what are you putting your trust in?
Part 1 – Trust – we trust in the safety equipment in a race car. We need to place out trust in Jesus, in God for our life and eternity.
Part 2 – Know – we know how the safety equipment works in a race car and we know what is right and wrong. We need to know God and His Word.
Having both is best not just one or the other.

Proverbs 22:20-21 Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?
Why do we read and search and study the Word daily? Because it is of highest value! Because we find truth in its pages! Because we find right from wrong. Amen!

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Easter 2017

So I asked the kids at Awana tonight what special or special traditions they had for this week. It was a good list: food; movies; candy; Good Friday church; Sunday church (surprised no one said sunrise service) and then the big talk, it was Easter egg hunt.

We decided there were several types of people on the hunt. Those that look a little and stop because it is too hard or everyone else gets them. Those that want others to find them for them. Others that did not look at all. And then the ones that look really hard and score the golden egg or the one with the special message, that the tomb is empty and Jesus is risen.

That is an excellent example of people. Some don’t look for Jesus. Some look a little but not intentional and make little effort. Some want works or someone else to get them into heaven and some search with all their heart and seek Him with everything they have. They are willing to sacrifice whatever they have to be saved. Will you be that person?

Then I shared with them some of my favorite Easter verses:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
I asked the kiddos how could this be an Easter verse. I told them I would give them another clue and another favorite Easter verse.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Not much closer but a few were starting to catch on. I said I would give them another clue.
Romans 5:6-8 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Now they could see a little more. They said Jesus died for us. I said that is right! The reason the other verses are Easter verses is because there has to be a sinner in order to have a Savior and each one of us are sinners. We need Jesus and here are His terms.
Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
We have to repent in our thinking. And we need to repent of our sin. We can’t just say a prayer and keep on living in sin. God is looking for a change of heart and life. Look at what Jesus did for you.
1 Corinthians 15:3,4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures
And His example to each one of us.
Philippians 2:5-9 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

I pray that you have surrendered to Jesus as LORD. If you have, will you be intentional at telling someone this week the gospel, the good news, the hope we have in Jesus?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Todd