Memorial Day 2016

First off we have to extend our condolences to the DiMaggio family and friends and to the other families involved. Our hearts are heavy.

Saying Happy Memorial Day is like saying Happy Easter, it really does not make much sense. Not too much to be happy about on Memorial Day. There are too many who paid a high price and too many families and friends that lost loved ones. The cost was so high for them and so great for them and we, I, get the benefit from their payment – freedom. So as we celebrate please stop and think. Like with many holidays we miss the true meaning. For this holiday let’s stop to remember the fallen. Remember the families. Remember the freedom did not come cheap.

Also let’s remember and think upon Jesus. He too paid a price and suffered. Unlike soldiers, He was perfect and sinless. He was selfless. He fought a war and an enemy for our sin and freedom. This battle would have eternal value not just national and comfort value. This war opened the way for salvation for every one that will bow and surrender to Jesus Christ as LORD.

Do you want to be bound up in suffering and pain? We are not talking about minutes, hours, days, months, years. We are talking about eternity of pain and agony. Stop and think about that. Our sin buys us eternity in hell. Hell is real, as real as air, as real as life. Don’t be blinded by the enemy. Think about warfare. The enemy is attacking and trying to destroy. That is what the devil is doing. He is trying to blind us, lie to us, and fool us.

On the other hand, God, the Father; God the Son, Jesus; God the Holy Spirit is offering us and presenting eternal life in Heaven. On His terms we have to follow. We need to admit we have sinned (Rom 3:23; 6:23) and can’t save our self. We have to agree that Jesus is the only one and the only way to eternal life (John14:6; Acts 4:12). We have to agree that Jesus is LORD (Rom 10:9,10). We have to repent and turn from our way to God’s way (Acts 3:19, Luke 13:3). He took our penalty when He suffered and died on the cross for our sin (Phil 2:8; Col 2:14,15). He rose from the dead and defeated death 1 Cor 15:12-23; 15: 50-57).

Think about that as you enjoy the freedoms we have on this weekend.

Todd

And thank you to each person who is serving and has served!

Instructions to Follow

A close knit team is one of the keys to success on the track. If a team is fractured and going in different directions is it very unlikely that you will get wins or high finishes. It is the same with work and important as a family. Here are some instructions to follow.

Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Clear and simple! That is what this verse is. Yet this verse is packed with jewels of extraordinary value. Stop and think about that. Echo, how much, how high of value do you place on God’s Word? I know we have been challenged in Proverbs often on that. Are you living it out? Has there been a change in how you read? How you study? How you memorize?
Back to the verse at hand. Loneliness is not fun. The enemy tries to divide and conquer. He wants to ground in our heart and in our obedience and our love for the LORD. God wants to be near. Yet, we too often want our selfish ways. Do you see the pattern? Do you see the problem? In the first part of the verse we see the LORD will not accept the wicked in His presence. He only allows the contrite in heart near Him. Than we see He hears the prayer of the righteous. Now the catch to this is a) we all sin and God draws those humble in and b) none are righteous but are made so by God. I hope that is not too complex, I know it is complex to me but just another reason we have to look at all of Scripture not just pick out a verse or part of a verse and make conclusions or Theology upon fractions of Scripture. We need to look at the whole of Scripture in a totality way.
I have much I could write on prayer but I hope you live a life of prayer. It is one of the greatest “habits”, “disciplines” we can have in the Christian walk and life.

Proverbs 15:30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.
Light and good news! Do you bring light and good news to those around you? God talks in His Word often about light and how Jesus is light and likewise His Word. Shine it brightly! Share it. Don’t hide it under a basket. Don’t falsify or confuse light, true light an untruth or error.
Good news – remember the old tract? The good news is that yes we have sinned but Jesus died to pay for our sin; we can be saved by repenting, placing our faith, and calling out on Jesus as LORD knowing that He was raised from the dead and appeared to His disciples and others.

Proverbs 15:31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.
Echo! Reproof, discipline, is a good thing if we want to be found wise. Do you really want to be found wise? What are you doing to get there? Stop and really think about that. What intentional, practical steps are you taking?

Proverbs 15:32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
Here again we are in an echo teaching. God is teaching us again that we are to listen, not ignore. What does it mean to actively listen? If you have ever gone to a marriage or parenting training or conference you have heard the answer. The agenda we have in listening or ignoring is very telling. We are to hear the words and try to understand what is really being spoken, not what we want to hear but what is said. We often get in trouble listening by not hearing what is really said. We are told in this verse we can “gain” by listening to reproof. This listening to reproof has within its meaning, to learn, to obey.

Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
This is occurrence number 7 of 11 where we get reminded, fear of the LORD. Like we said last time, each one is tied to something. This one is tied to humility. We all like some attention and honor. Here is how we get it from the LORD, not that we earn that, but that we come low before Him. Are you able to do that? It is almost never heard of, at least in my family. We talk a lot about it, but it is hard to live. This could be a powerful game changer if we can live it out.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

If or When

There is always much to pray about. No difference today as we think of several people and families.

The kids and I were going up to home school group and talking about sports. We were talking about the mindset that it takes to be a champion. We all agreed that if you go into a game, match, race, thinking you are going to lose most likely you are going to lose. If you go into those events saying, “I am the winner” you are prideful and it is crushing to lose. We agreed that there is a balance and that you need to put in the hard work, be consistent in your practice, play hard, be physically and mentally ready, eat and sleep right and balanced and then leave it in God’s hands. So do you say, “if” or “when”?

Back to our study.

Proverbs 15:24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
Great verse as are most that we see and study and live in Proverbs. The ‘path of life’ that is spoken of is a trial, a road that has high volume of traffic. It is well trodden. It is like the perfect groove on the race track. What did Trickle say about The Mile? You either hit the 8” groove or you are going to have a bad, slow corner. The word ‘above’ is not just a little above but exceedingly high. It is right and good to fight for following God and His Word. It is prudent. Just to drive the point home, the word ‘Sheol’ is hell. We have to intentionally turn away from sin, from hell, from our selfish desires. This is a battle and it is ongoing. And we need to fight together not as lone soldiers.

Proverbs 15:25 The Lord tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries.
God makes it very clear what He thinks of the proud. He does not like it, pride. Again, He does not like pride. Does He still love the sinner? Yes. But the sin – not at all. Pride is one of the most difficult sins to flush out. It can hide in so many places in our heart and life. It often takes others around us to show us pride. I know this is a battle because I see it in people close to me, ok, really close, ok, I see it in my life. It is driven by self, by comfort, by want, by power… It is good to have a set of accountability questions and go through them often. It is good to examine our actions and words. Like any sin we can have victory but it will only come if we are broken and the Holy Spirit does the work in us.

Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.
Here we are again with the strong word, ‘abomination’. God detests sin. God hates sin. It is not the joking matter that we too often make it. Can you, can we, get it? Is there a clear picture? I often remind myself and my kiddos that sin is like vomit. We would never stand or sit in vomit. The stench is awful. On the other side of that are pure words. They are pleasing to the LORD. They are fresh and bring life and I know in my family they are not frequent enough. Can you be, can I be, more intentional at using gracious words? Let’s work on it. Let’s hope so.

Proverbs 15:27 Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.
I hear it often that we need to be able to separate our work week from Sunday. THAT IS NOT TRUE! I think it is a huge reason we are where we are as a nation. I think it is a huge reason why we are where we are as a church both as individual churches and as The Church (I realize this term can be confusing and maybe I need to write some clarification but not here).
This verse addresses greed and gain. We are to be honest in our business dealings but on a personal level and on a work level. How do you handle that? Are you honest in dealing with transactions of money and things?

Proverbs 15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
WOW, do I need to hear this and be challenged often here. I need to stop and think before I react and speak. I can too easily react and speak emotionally rather than stopping and clearing the thoughts and finding truth. When we respond quickly we, or at least I, often respond without love or kindness and lack compassion, grace and mercy. Maybe you struggle with this. Let’s slow down before we speak. It is ok.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Where You Start, Where You Finish, or What You Do Between – Which is Best?

What is more important? How we start? How we finish? How we are in the middle? Which one is most important in a race? I would say finish but how we start and what is done in the middle of a race can be just as important and leads to where the finish is. Starting on the pole and wrecking is not good. Starting on the pole and having a bad set up and drifting to the back of the pack is not good. Starting in the back and working your way through the field for a win or top 3, 5, or 10 finish is good. Starting on the pole and running a smooth, good race for the win, now that is fun!
The same can be said in life. The finish is critical but that does not excuse us from obeying and following the LORD God in the middle and start. It is best to have continual surrender, humility, servant hood.

Proverbs 15:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
We finish with a “better” verse and we start with one this study. This verse can tie to the ones we will see on marriage and family. How is it around your dinner table? Do you take time to gather as a family often? One of the things I like about racing is the family aspect. I often see families gathered at the car/hauler. It is so good to bring the family together and often. I know for many that cannot happen every dinner but at the least 2 or 3 times a week. Make those times meaningful and memorable in a good way.

Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
Nine times “slow to anger” is said in the Old Testament. They are all interesting verses to look at as they are tied to what God wants to see in us. Are you calming or stirring? There is a place for both but I hope I lean more to the calming side and especially in the home.

Proverbs 15:19 The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.
Thirteen times “sluggard” is used in the Bible, all in Proverbs and we are on number 5 of 13. Might be a good idea to look at all 13 together and see what we can learn but I will continue to look at them as they come up.
Having a thorn is not comfortable. Getting scraped by a throne is even more painful. Get the picture? Be the upright person not the sluggard.

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
What does the picture of your family look like? The first or the second statement? It does not matter if you are young or older. God wants us to be the wise son or daughter.

Proverbs 15:21 Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.
Twenty-two times ‘folly’ is used in Proverbs. All are used in things the Christian should not be. How is your walk?

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Here is a verse deserving of emphasis. Too many of us try to go alone in life. Our pride, our fear, our lack of love all play a part of keeping us separate. They are all tools the evil one uses to keep us apart instead of together. It is so important to have a mentor and be a mentor and have accountability partners and those guys you just hang out together with. We need to have the guy in our life that will both encourage us and challenge us. I have heard dozens of messages lately reminding me of the importance of this. Do you have those relationships?

Proverbs 15:23 To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
Here is some good encouragement. It is good to lift others up. It is good to have a real joy and peace. We do that with our words and actions. Timing is important. We can say the same words with the same stress in voice at different times and they can be received completely differently. Please, speaking to myself, think before you speak.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Air Pressure

Do you find it interesting how much time is spent on checking the air pressure in the tires? That guy or gal seems to have the gauge in every time I turn around. There are small adjustments made throughout the day or night trying to get the exact right air pressure for the car to perform at it’s best level.
Well, in our Christian walk and life we too should be checking the gauges and especially our mouth, heart and fear of the LORD. Let’s study on…

Proverbs 15:12 A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise.
This is a great teaching to instill in our young ones. Going to Facebook is not the place for answers. Nova and TV are not going to give you truth on creation or history. How do our kiddos react to being taught and/or being disciplined? We get the word reproved from ‘yakach’ which carries the meaning convict or correct.

Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Don’t those people that are always smiling bug you? How can they be that happy? They can’t be? They are hiding something. I hear that as I smile a lot. There are times I am just trying to make an impact by smiling. Often I am just thinking of the things to come – Heaven! Or the blessings of the family. Or the wonders of God. Look at the other side of the person that has always got the frown on their face. I often walk by and have two thoughts, a) sad that life is so bad and hard on this person but b) I pray that the person will see the hope and truth there is in Jesus. The saying “smile Jesus loves you” really is a great one.

Proverbs 15:14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
Hey, listen up, [with the snap of fingers loudly in the mic]. That is what one of my instructors did when he wanted us to really get something. Oh, and he had a booming voice too so all sleepers were abruptly awakenedJ.
As I read this verse I think of God saying, “I know I am repeating this teaching, but I want to get your attention, your full attention and more than your attention, I want you to obey and live this. If we look at what you and I seek what would we conclude? Are you really, intentional, obediently seeking God and His knowledge or more so folly? We know how we want to be seen but what is really there when God searches our heart? What does He find? What does He uncover? Stop and really think about that and if you are led to confess and repent that is a good thing not a bad thing.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
As I sit here and think and pray through what to say here I think how we can look at the rich and see they are not all that godly and in some cases violate all of God’s law. So they are rich, they eat great feasts, they have the “big” things but if you dig past that, what is found? Most of the time there is crisis, there is empty life, there is a need that will come out. Often as they are being sent to court, jail or the hospital. Do you think God would say this and not mean it? NOT A CHANCE! What God says He means. Look at the last part of this verse. It really is a distinguishing mark of the Christian, the smile and cheerful heart.

Proverbs 15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it.
Do you remember the verse on the fear of the LORD? How often do you think about the fear of the LORD? How often do you deliberately look at this truth? I do find the word “little” interesting. Why would God accept a “little” fear of the LORD? As to not get confused I dug and the root word (ma at) is most often figuratively used to compare (see Psalm 37:16 Proverbs 16:8). God is still saying “love the LORD your God with ALL of your heart, soul, strength, mind (Dt 6:5; Mark 12:30)”.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

What to Do?

What would you do if you won the lottery? I mean the mega bucks one. For me it would be quite the deal as I don’t play the lottery so that would be the first shock to get over. We can see where our heart and thinking is if we build a list of ‘what we would do”. We will come back to this at the end.

Proverbs 15:6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
What a clear picture of what God wants to see in our money. He wants us to be faithful and He wants us to be good stewards remembering that we our His and we have a responsibility.

Proverbs 15:7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.
We see the connection between the heart and the mouth again. We also see God reminding us again that we are to spread knowledge, spread the Word of God. We have a privilege and honor. Don’t neglect the gift you are given.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
We can sacrifice in a holy way or a wicked way (selfish way). It is a great thing to be living prayer. Do you? How serious are you about prayer? This too is a great privilege. I hope you are intentional in your prayer life. Remember much of our prayer needs to be listening to the LORD and praising Him

Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
What are you pursuing? I know we have touched on this several times throughout the study of Proverbs. Are you running with all your might towards the LORD and righteousness? We should be. Lets remind ourselves what the word ‘abomination’ is. Websters says, “something that causes disgust or hatred”. That is pretty strong language. God is serious about how we act and think and speak.

Proverbs 15:10 There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.
This is how serious God is. He declares there WILL be discipline and not just discipline. It will be severe. And think about that, God’s type severe discipline cannot be pleasant. Do you try to find when God is disciplining or do you just blow it off?

Proverbs 15:11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord; how much more the hearts of the children of man!
I know I keep saying this but here is a key verse. It is good for us to remember that God see us for who we really are. He sees our motive and true thoughts. He sees the good and the bad. We cannot escape from Him in a good way or bad way. That should help us in our thinking and decision process.

Back to first paragraph. So what would you do? Where did you find your heart was? Most of us would build a list and life that is comfortable and for self but we all know most of those winners a) get ripped off by “friends” and family and b) end up broke and in debt. That is crazy. It would be much better to put your time and effort into the LORD and His work. There are true riches found in a life and heart that follows the LORD and His ways. Take a look at Psalm 119 and combine it with Proverbs teaching. How about it?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd