Christmas and the End of the Year

This time of the year is filled with celebration. We roll right from Thanksgiving into Christmas and Christmas to the end of the year and then immediately follow that with the New Year. We can be caught up in the celebration and miss the One that should be our focus. Jesus is the one we are to give thanks to. Jesus is the focus of Christmas and at the end of the year we should think about all God has blessed us with and carried us through and then the New Year we should look to God and His direction for the year to come. I hope you do not just pass through the holiday’s and ignore the LORD. May He be the focus point.

Proverbs 28:21 To show partiality is not good, but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.
I read the back half of this verse and think, “It does not take much for me to sin.” What a sad statement yet I fear it is true too often. Dear LORD help me to grasp on to You and hold tight and not give ground to sin.

Proverbs 28:22 A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.
Think of reading through Proverbs and not getting this. Ouch. We are so wealthy here in America and we have so much more than just shelter; clothing and food. We live in large spaces. We have closets and drawers full of clothing. We have shelves, and freezers and refrigerators full of food with many times eating out and huge stores full of food around the corner.

Proverbs 28:23 Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.
Echo! We have seen it often before in Proverbs but are reminded again, who receives our praise? Is it man or God? Is it the worldly person or your pastor? What words come off your tongue most often, those that push down or those that lift up?

Proverbs 28:24 Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys.
Tough verse as I see it. There are many ways to “rob” parents and I see it now how easy it can and did happen. LORD I need your forgiveness.

Proverbs 28:25-6 A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
What way do you trust in the LORD? In what areas of your life do you trust in self? In this chapter we find we are delivered by walking in integrity and wisdom. If we examine my life or your life what will we find us walking in?

Proverbs 28:27 Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
God is still not done with reminding us to give to the poor, the needy. Here is a note for this chapter that is interesting. In 19 of the 28 verses there is a “but”. There is a clear contrast between right and wrong, God’s way and against God. Are you willing to obey God and the things in Proverbs or are you ok with the consequences? Let me tell you, it is not worth feeding the flesh. It is worth following the LORD and obeying Him.

Proverbs 28:28 When the wicked rise, people hide themselves, but when they perish, the righteous increase.
The continuous echo in Proverbs is that there is nothing for the wicked but for the righteous there are great things to look forward to. God does not change positions on this. We see here again that the wicked often try to hide but sin cannot be hidden from God. He sees all and knows all.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

How Does That Work?

So Sunday we got up and I was trying to figure out if I needed a heavy coat or light jacket. I had heard it was going to be nice out, but I went to the phone to check the temperature and found that the high was predicted to be 52 and they low was going to be 44 and right now it was 31-degress – how can the low be 13-degrees off?

We all laughed about it and headed to church.
Here is what it brought me to think about. We can be that way with God’s Word. We can see God wants us to follow Him and we can see the clear teaching He gives us but instead we sometimes listen to men’s teaching and hope for the best. Take salvation. A church might say you do this and that and you are saved, if you witness and give enough or do this work or that and you are saved, but God say clearly in Ephesians it is not by works that you are saved. It is by the grace and mercy of God, It is through repenting of sin, seeing ourselves as the problem and Jesus as the One and Only Way. This Christmas season won’t you follow Jesus and surrender to Him as your LORD and Savior?

Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
It is a horrible thing to hide sin. DID you hear that? It is a horrible thing to hide sin. DID you listen to that? It is a horrible thing to hide MY sin. Stop and listen to God if He has anything to reveal to you.
Now on the second half of this verse, WOW! Can you be found as one that confesses sin and repents? DO you forsake sin? That is a great person to be known as. Keeping a short list of sin and not letting the sin build up.

Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Number 18 of 21! Here the ‘fear the LORD’ is tied to being blessed. What is the other side of this? A hardened heart will, WILL fall! Listen to that again, a hardened heart will, WILL fall. That was no question there. That person living in sin, with no desire to escape or run from sin, is not going escape without harm. This should put the fear of God in us and help us to make the right choice today.
Think about this: Matthew 13:40ff Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Will you be one that listens?

Proverbs 28:15-16 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
In history we have seen leaders that want to do harm to the poor. So are political leaders, some are educational leaders, some are church leaders, etc… It is a lowly, and not in a good way, thing to see. What they don’t understand is they are not only harming the poor but they are harming themselves and the people they lead. There is much in Proverbs that would do well for D.C. to take notice of but unfortunately most will not live in humility, not bow to God and take notice of His directions for leaders. Instead they look out for themselves and love the powers they think they have.
We have all heard the story of the bus driver or store clerk that gave back too much change to see if the “Christian” would return the money. Are you that upright and honest?

Proverbs 28:17 If one is burdened with the blood of another, he will be a fugitive until death; let no one help him.
Genesis 9:6 says Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image. God warns from the beginning of His Word to the end that we are to do no harm to others.

Proverbs 28:18 Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.
God speaks of integrity 27 times in the Bible and 8 are in Proverbs and this is the 8th time. A great promise is given with this verse. God says He will deliver the one who is found with integrity. Compare that to the crook who will fall. Which will you choose?

Proverbs 28:19 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
We have said it before but will say it again, it is good to work and work unto the LORD. It is good to have attention to detail and work at a good pace. It is good to be honest and trustworthy. It is good to pursue things that count for eternity. Why do we work? Most answer, “To make money so I can have the things I want.” Listen to those words. Does that sound like on that is Christ centered?

Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
Here we see that pursuit of money will not end well. On the other hand we see that the pursuit of faith will end well. What are you pursuing? Make it the right thing. Make it God and His way and will.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

December 7, 1941

In a speech to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the bombing of Pearl Harbor “a date which will live in infamy.” It was December 7, 1941 and Japanese planes attacked the base in Hawaii. 2,403 died that day and war broke out that would cost thousands of lives.

Many American can’t remember that day but they remember 9/11 when Islamic fighters took over planes killing 2,996 people. Since that day thousands more have been killed in the fight against ISIS. We still see the “Never forget” messages as we get to September 11th each year but we too should be remembering those effected by 12/7/41. I know the numbers of those that fought in WWII are getting smaller by the day but to those still out there I say thank you! Dad, I am so proud of how you served this nation. I know war is ugly and it leaves behind scars for all who serve in combat. May we remember those who served and are serving in the forces today and say thank you.

To the men and women and their families I say THANK YOU!

Sunrise and Sunset

Pretty Amazing! God gives us spectacular sunrises and sunsets as of late. WOW!

Luke 1:78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high.
I know when I look at the brilliant colors of a sunrise or sunset, I think of the LORD and His mighty hand in creation and proving His love and kindness and care to us. It should drive us to worship.

Proverbs 28:6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
Thirty-five times “poor” is spoken of in Proverbs. God wants to draw some clear lines and this verse echoes what has often been said by the LORD in Proverbs that He is more concerned about our thoughts and actions and attitudes than our bank account. He also makes the call to integrity so crystal clear. Can that be said of you today? Did you have integrity today?

Proverbs 28:7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
This verse seems to contain two very different concepts. In part “A” is the law and in part “B” is gluttony. In part “A” we are called to keep the law and it shows we have some understanding where in part “B” we see even a companion of gluttons is shameful. This is harsh to me as one that over eats and does not eat what is healthy. Dear LORD, how I need Your help. I fall so short in this area of diet and health.

Proverbs 28:8 Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.
When you get a bonus or windfall of some sort do you give it all towards the poor? That would be the reason God would give you extra right? What faith and heart towards God that would take to live out but I think it would be pleasing to the LORD if one did that.

Proverbs 28:9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
Ouch! Do you yearn to hear the law, to follow the law, to obey the law, God’s law? Would you go to a sporting event instead of church? A concert instead of a prayer meeting? And so on. You get the picture right? Now look closely at the effect this has. If hurts our prayer. Does prayer matter to you? Does it have a high ranking in your life? DO you look forward to praying and to gathering with others in prayer? I hope you do.

Proverbs 28:10 Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
Clear and stern warning! DO NOT be the one that leads those who are following Christ towards evil, towards sin. It will be punished. On the other side of that is the blameless getting a good inheritance, blessing. God knows none of us are completely sinless or blameless but He sees us that way through Christ. Don’t give away that blessing.

Proverbs 28:11-12 A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out. When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.
We have seen this teaching in Proverbs several times already and the echo is the same. It is better to be poor than rich if you have understanding. It is tied to being humble and being a slave to Jesus. Pride will always harm. It will never have any good to it.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

See That Stain

The other day I got home and there was a stain on the countertop. I wondered first why it was not cleaned up. The kiddos said they tried. The next day I got up and as I wandered out to get my coffee started I noticed a glass with the same bright red liquid as the stain. I thought, “Wow! That preaches!”

Think about the red liquid as sin. If you let it sit around there is going to be a stain left behind. It is going to spill. So if there is a spill you can’t just cover it up. You can’t just wipe it up a little. You have to scrub it. It is work. Same with sin. You have to have the work of the Spirit and repentance. You have to remove the opportunity to sin. That means change. Change what you listen to, who you are around, where you go, what tv station you turn to, what magazine you pick up what web site you go to. That glass of sin can’t just stay on the counter waiting to be spilled again. Really think about that. Is there a sin you need to deal with?

Proverbs 27:25-26 When the grass is gone and the new growth appears and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field.
God has a perfect timing and season for all things, God is the one that provides. It is a great thing to rest in the LORD and wait for His timing and His provision. As Americans we can be far too impatient and try to force God’s hand. That is never a good thing. That is wanting what I want and I want it now which leads to superimposing our will over that of God. So let me ask you, when is the last time you waited on the LORD and what was the blessing that came out of waiting?

Proverbs 27:27 There will be enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household and maintenance for your girls.So many great verses in Proverbs! This one echoes with strength and clarity that God will provide and provide enough. Will enough be enough for you or do you need more? Just think about that a minute and let it sink in.

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. What will you run from? This is a defining question? Will you run from sin? Will you run from the LORD? Will you run into sin? Is your first instinct to protect yourself? Are you known for boldness in speaking the truth or lies? We should be bold for Christ and proclaiming His message.

Proverbs 28:2 When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. We look around the United States and it is scary how we have wandered away from the LORD. We used to value life. We used to respect authority. We used to respect those older than us. We used to praying in school. Remember when you could say Merry Christmas? We used to call out sin and call to repent. Now most are sermons and churches are soft on sin and mute on repentance. No wonder crime and sin have increased and our news is filled with destruction of life.

Proverbs 28:3-4 A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food. Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them. How often do you provide for the poor and needy around you? Do you see the poor and the needy or are you blind to them? Are you willing to ring a bell? Serve a meal? Hold an AIDS baby? Provide a bed and/or meal for the needy? Those are some real and practical things that could be done.

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely. Is so interesting to listen to people. When they get caught do they shift the blame? Do they ignore the question? Do they see it was a broken rule? Do they place it in the crowd of “everyone is doing it”? It is pretty sad. What is God looking for when a sin has occurred? He is looking for confession and repentance. Can you see the stark difference in the view of justice?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

What is Around You?

Do you see what is going on around you? I often see someone in the pits not paying any attention and having close calls or getting hit by a car. Guys can’t really see very well as they go through the pits. It is important to know what is going on around us not only at the track but at work, at school, at home.

This weekend we had the blessing of being with Cindy’s brother who works in a Christian camp out in CA. It was great to see him and hear some of the things going on at camp. But it was really sad to hear the news once we got back in town and hear about the church shooting in TX and the officers killed in Rockford. Those things happen and it is easy to ask, “What is going on?”. We know what is happening, it is evil, it is sin and selfish desires. We have to be a light. We need to bring the love of Jesus to those around us.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
GREAT verse! This verse is one of the ones often pointed to in the area of mentorship, discipleship and accountability. If we want to stand up for the LORD, it is vital that we have those relationships. Every person that I have known or heard that fell lacked in those relationships. Do you see how important and clear this is? Howard Hendricks wrote a very good book on this. I recommend reading it and following the steps he lays out in it.

Proverbs 27:18 Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who guards his master will be honored.
Do you honor and defend those that go before you, those that have trained you in life and ministry? We should. Jesus echoes this and so does Paul. We are to honor and guard the teachers among us. Those that teach and share the Bible are under attack in a way most do not understand. If you think the enemy attacks you, just check out what happens to pastors, missionaries, and teachers of the Word. Those that are faithfully serving will be accused often with lies and we need to have their backs and we need to encourage them.

Proverbs 27:19 As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.
What is seen when you are looked upon? I mean a deep look. One that goes deep inside, past the skin, past the mind, past the feelings and emotions, to the heart. What is found there? God knows!

Proverbs 27:20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.
We are back to that word “satisfied”. That is a tough one today here in America but know this, it was a tough anytime and anyplace. Man just wants. Man wants more than they should have. Man want pleasure and to feed flesh. If you really examine self, what do you find?

Proverbs 27:21-22 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise. Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his folly will not depart from him.
As we think about the prior verse we roll into this verse with the crucible. The web-dictionary says, “a container of metal or refractory material employed for heating substances to high temperatures used in testing or trials”. If our faith is checked for impurities what would be found? God sees and knows our inner most being, who we really are.

Proverbs 27:23-24 Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?
Are you paying attention to the people and things around you? What is your level of stewardship towards the LORD. Do you really live knowing God owns everything and we are just managers, stewards? Do you really think and pray before you spend? Do you see the need of those around you? Can you tell the difference from eternal things and worldly things? This is really important for us to catch and to live out.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd