It's HOT Outside!

It is so hot this week. It shows us how frail we are. It also shows us that our comfort window is pretty small. First, the heat shows us our need for Jesus and our need for Him as our fortress, our protector, and the living water. This week we all have a great need to hydrate well. Our water intake is critical or our body will place us in a critical situation in the ER. We need to recognize our need as we have the same need of Jesus or we will be in critical situation in Hell. Have you recognized that and followed Jesus to salvation?
Second, we too often seek comfort instead of the Savior and want comfort on our terms instead of on God’s term and Him refining us. Pause and think about the week and think about what comfort you sought this week.

Proverbs 17:19 Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
Sound familiar in teaching? It should as we talked about that last lesson. God is again using the echo principle and driving home the point.

Proverbs 17:20 A man of crooked heart does not discover good, and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.
Back to the heart and tongue. I will remind myself and us, God takes sin seriously. He wants our words to be His and he wants our heart to be in sync with His. How are you doing on this? Have you ever had a hard time finding truth, finding what is good? I have and the root like we talked about recently is sin and self. Don’t give up. Instead work hard at rooting out the sin and seeking the LORD.

Proverbs 17:21 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.
We just passed Fathers Day and Mothers Day and I am reminded each year that children are a great joy to parents and godly children even a greater blessing and joy. Are you? Just think about it.

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
What side do you want to be on? Yes there is a choice. We can follow the LORD and worship Him or we can reject Him for Who He really is. We can be focused on things, self, the world, what we don’t have or we can be focused on Jesus and others and have blessing and joy. Which are you choosing right now, today?

Proverbs 17:23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice.
This verse speaks to several warnings for sin. Bribes, secret, perverted ways.

Proverbs 17:24 The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
Echo, we are brought back to thinking about wisdom. Proverbs focuses often on wisdom. This verse is no different. To have discernment we have to be focused on God so we gather in His wisdom. On the opposite side we see a bad ending to the fool not thinking upon the LORD.

Proverbs 17:25 A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him.
We are reminded again about the parent child relationship. The foolish child is hard on a family.

Proverbs 17:26 To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.
We should honor those around us that are doing what is right and noble. Do you look for opportunities to encourage those around you that are doing what is right?

Proverbs 17:27-28 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
These two we have talked about, but are reminded it is better to be quiet than to always be talking. We are also reminded that calm is a measure of our understanding. How did you do this week?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Who Checked That?

Again we stop to pray first for those in France under attack and those in the unrest in Turkey and now three more fall police Office in Baton Rouge. This world is in need of Jesus. Our hearts break over the violence that is so wide spread.

We have seen it, something goes wrong on the car and the crowd and maybe even the crew and driver wonder who checked and double checked it. We know it happens but often it is preventable. We need to check, we need to ask and answer the questions. It is best to have the LORD check our lives but it is also good to have our pastor and our friends, our mentor and accountability partner often checking up on us, keeping that list of sin short, watching and being watchful. We don’t want to slowly drift away or crash and burn abruptly.

Proverbs 17:10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.
You know, echo. How do you receive a rebuke, a discipline, a correction? It can measure where we are in our relationship with the LORD.

Proverbs 17:11 An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
It is sad that we see so much of this lived out around us. This country is sinking farther into the pit of evil and sin. It can be traced back a long ways so the challenge is will the church stand for righteousness and the LORD and not buckle to the world around us? Will you?!

Proverbs 17:12 Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly.
What a good word picture God uses here. We all know you don’t mess with an animal protecting her young. That is the intensity we need to stand against sin. Are you?!

Proverbs 17:13 If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.
HEAR THIS WARNING! We have to be vigilant at keeping evil out of the home and lives around us. We can’t let our guard down. We need to be very careful what we watch and listen to. This is a serious deal.

Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
I can testify to this from many occasions but one recent one is as we care for a couple of little ones who come from a home that has some deep struggles we see and heard the outburst. The sad thing is I see how it has affected each one of us. I have been walking the house praying over the home, those in it.
It is as real as air and we are reminded of this clear teaching in Ephesians 6 – it is not flesh and blood we battle against

Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
Here we are, we found another thing that bothers God, no, more than bothers. God says this too is an abomination. It is the one that tries to talk his, her way out of sin and instead points their finger at the righteous. Ouch!

Proverbs 17:16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?
What do you think of that question? What do you do with that question? This may not be the right thought but I think of the higher learning centers in the world (colleges and universities) and I think how they are wasting so much resources. Just think about that. Yes there are good reasons and good things in continuing your education but I do warn you, be careful. They are trying to shove God out of many of those institutions.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
What a great verse and reminder. We have all heard the little one say, “I don’t like you!”. We don’t want to be driven by childlike thoughts or words. Let our love and friendships be truth.

Proverbs 17:18 One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
Do your promises mean anything? How would your spouse and children, your parents, your boss, your crew answer that? Enough said.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Street Drags

Breaking News:
We need to first stop and pray. With all that is going on with the shootings we need to be in prayer for this country. We are headed in a bad direction and reaping the product of sin. We have little or no value on life and now look at what is happening. It is time to get serious about revival and repentance. It is time to get serious about change. We can’t just say we want change we have to change. We have to agree with the LORD and seek Him and change direction. We need to ask God to give us a love for our fellow man. This is sickening. Primarily men, but women and children also being gunned down. Dozens of shoots fired every week. Police shooting. Blood flowing in the streets. We should be alarmed. We should be broken hearted. We should find this wrong.
Please join me in pleading with the LORD.
Pray Acts 4:12 and pray that there would be a great outbreak of salvation as people turn to Jesus as the one and only hope there is to save this country and lives.

Street Drags or one on one drags at the track are quick. One of the most important things is to stay in your lane. If don’t there is going to most likely be a wrecked car or cars and others could be hurt. You have to be focused and keep your eyes and wheel steady. This is important for our life in Christ too.

Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.
How many of you were teenagers? How many of you have teenagers? Then you know. It is not easy.
We see here that God wants us to have a positive, encouraging, peaceful home. That is why we have to be guarding our front doors and back doors. We have to have the LORD shield our minds and hearts for the family but we have to do our part too.
What if you are the one causing the strife in the home? Or in the streets? Will you, will I, be willing to admit it and willing to turn from the selfish ways that create the strife?

Proverbs 17:2 A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
Do you want to parent wisely? Center your family on the Word of God and on God. Do it! Think this is important after seeing this week’s news?! I think so.

Proverbs 17:3 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.
It is a good thing to be tested by the LORD. He looks at our heart and knows what is really going on. It also is scary in the sense of what He finds. Is it your desire to please God? What does God find when He test our heart today?

Proverbs 17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.
What do you listen to? Who do you enjoy being around? Really think about that this week and measure it. Evil WILL INFLUENCE us so the amount of noise, the amount media, the amount of senselessness will affect us. BE ON GUARD!

Proverbs 17:5 Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
Listen to the two things brought to the forefront here. 1) The poor and how we think and act towards them and 2) our attitude towards chaos, disorder. God is a God of order and truth.

Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
It is a great thing to be family. I hope you don’t miss out on it. I hope you take the roles in your family seriously and are intentional at fulfilling your roles and being godly in those roles.

Proverbs 17:7 Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince.
We are back to our words and the importance of them being pleasing to God. Were yours this week?

Proverbs 17:8 A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers.
Not going to comment on this one because there is not clarity for me on the wording and translation.

Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
We just talked about broken friendship. Here is another example of what breaks friendships, covering up. We need to be open and truthful.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Swing and a Miss (Part 2)

So we are back, remember we were talking about sin and what we do with it when we see it in our life. When you find a problem with the car what do you do? Do you ignore it and hope it just goes away? Of course not. You dig in until you find the root issue and deal with it. Half way fixes are not going to add speed or help improve the finish.

Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
Do you have a grayed hair saint that you rely on? One that you go to for help, accountability, encouragement, teaching? I hope you do.

Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Two great teaching in this one verse. One, we see the value in being like God, slow to anger. Can you say that is true in your life or is there some confession and repentance needed? It is better to stop right here and deal with that. Anger most often is sin. Going back to the opening, take a big swing and don’t miss this. Second, does anger rule you or does the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, rule you, over you and in you?

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord
There was a place for lots but not now.
Now we should know the LORD and have the Spirit guiding us. Is your relationship with God that firm? Let’s say that answer is “no” I need a “better” relationship with God. The next question is what do I do about it? How do I get a “better” relationship with the LORD?
Well we need to go deep so please slow down and think right now. This is a good place to stop and pray and ask God to open my heart to what I need to hear. I see three answers depending on where you are in your spiritual walk.

  • Step one – is the reason my relationship with God is so off, so weak, is because I have never been saved?
  • Step two – is the reason my relationship with God is so off, so weak, is because I don’t KNOW Him?
  • Step three – is the reason my relationship with God is so off, so weak, is because there is a deep seeded stronghold of sin?

Let’s think about each one of these:

First,
Titus 3:3-8 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
The first step is to know that we have an incurable problem, not disease. We have a sin problem. We have offended the Creator, the LORD GOD. But because of His love He saves us. When we bow before Him and confess our sin and acknowledge He is LORD He presents us with the gift of salvation. It is a step in trust and faith and we have to truly desire to move from where we are to where God wants us, a changed life. We cannot just add God to our life. Read that again and think about it.

Second,
Ephesians 3:20-21  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
The next step or check point is knowing God. Do you search the Scriptures to draw out the nuggets of truth about God? We can see so much about Him. It is good to sit, lay, walk and everything else and think about who God is. To ask Him to show us what it means when we say God is holy; God is sovereign; God is mighty…
This helps us get a clear picture that we are in great need and that God is the one in charge and doing the work.

Third,
Titus 2:11-13  For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Stronghold is any way of thinking or acting that is contrary to the will and ways of God, that is built on a deception that is nurtured by emotion, and injected with self-will.

  1. Allow the truth to work in you. We know that all godly change begins with and is dependent on God.
  2. Approach God in humility, Since God IS GOD, our next step to freedom is humility
  3. Deal honestly with all issues
  4. Seek reconciliation with God
  5. Live forgiveness out
  6. Embrace Christ’s freedom
  7. Consistently love others
  8. Stand firm! Be strong in the LORD

What two things need to happen?
Two Principles for Sanctification
Close to God
Clean from the World

Do you have a sin you need, even want to deal with? Let me know so I can pray for you and help you. We cannot do this on our own.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

Swing and a Miss (Part 1)

You have heard the guy say they took a big swing at things and made some big changes to get the car fast. You have also heard the guy say that they have been chasing the problems all season only to get to the “off season” and tear the car down to find the root problem.
What a great lesson for each one of us on both fronts: 1) we want to have God change us and we need to be willing to change and to accept the change and 2) we don’t want to just deal with the surface sin, we want to dig deep to the stuff underneath and find the root sin that needs to be dealt with. Are you being intentional at digging out sin?

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Echo, echo, echo. We have seen this before. We don’t want to follow man’s way we want to follow the LORD. Look at where man’s way leads to. God is serious about this

Proverbs 16:26 A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.
At first I thought about this verse and said God I don’t understand what You are trying to say. Then I thought about a couple of things. It is good to be hungry. One, to be hungry for the LORD and for the Word of God and two, to be physically hungry so that we work hard and for the right reasons.

Proverbs 17:27 A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.
What are your plans? Short term? Long term? Do you have an intentional plan to pour God’s Word into peoples lives around you?
Second, did your words lift someone up this week or tear them down?

Proverbs 16:28 A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
What are you spreading? This week, what did you spread? Lies or truth? Again, uplifting or breaking someone down? We are also reminded here that our words can harm friendship. Not that every word is going to be right and there must be a place for forgiveness but we do want to think much before we speak. I know that is an ongoing challenge for me.

Proverbs 16:29-30 A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good. Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.
We can see a theme today. God is really challenging us in the area of what we say, how we say it and what our actions are. Where are we leading those around us? Hopefully we are leading in righteousness and not worthlessness. Good not evil. Think about that. Second, we again think about our plans. Stop and really think about them. What do you want to get done next week? Is one of your goals to know God, to know Jesus more on Saturday than on Monday? What are you going to intentionally do to accomplish that goal?

We are going to stop here and next week come back and finish this section

Have great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd

A Direct Hit

This may be a little strange to talk about in chapel or on a chaplain’s blog but have you been punched? How about right in the nose? You know my past and yes there were times. I remember one in particular that I got a direct hit and the guy was not very strong but very fast. I was not able to slide to the side at all and just took it. It got my attention quickly and it was a question of grabbing him and tearing him apart before he got away or walking away. I chose to walk away. Every day we face decisions of what to do in situations. Those choices will effect what happens going forward. As we study through Proverbs every verse, even down to the part of a verse can challenge us. What will we do with this one? Are we going to just skim over it? Are we going to read it? Are we going to stop and really think about it? Are we going to embrace it and try to learn it and obey it? How open are we to the Holy Spirit doing a work in us? The verses today of course are going to be echoes of things we have covered but don’t just skip over them. Slow down.

Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.
This is another echo of other verses in Proverbs but one I need to hear often. If you and I are saved we should be turning from sin, from evil. Others should see what is changing in our lives. What is the last sin you have intentionally dealt with? What sin would you like to deal with? What is your plan? What changes do you need to make? How sincerely has your prayer reflected this?

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Bam! There is the one that connects square on the chin or nose. God does not pull any punches here. There are times the LORD is gentle and times He is direct. Here He is very direct. His thoughts on pride are clear and concise. Pride will destroy. It is dangerous. There is harm to all that are filled with pride. It may not show up right away. It can be hidden for some time but at some point there will be judgment and direct judgment. The words used here denote broken bones, dismantling of the body. That does not sound pleasant. Do you ask the LORD to search you for pride often? It would be a good practice to get into.

Proverbs 16:19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
God tells us what we are to be. We are to be lowly in spirit. Humble!

Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
Amen!
Sit back and read that again, and again and again. Let it sink in deep.

Proverbs 16:21 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
Here are things that please the LORD: wise (wisdom); discernment; words that lift up, that teach. The last word would be better translated “doctrine” or “learning” God is concerned with our words and He wants us to share His Word with others around us. He has put each one of us in a mission field. It may be our home, our neighborhood, our school, our team, our work place, etc… Don’t miss sharing today.

Proverbs 16:22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
There really is good thinking and bad thinking. I know we don’t want to be in the second camp. We want to think well. We want to think truth but we can easily get off base, off truth. That is why it is important to be open to the Holy Spirit and to be open to what other strong believers say to us. Did you catch the tie with the heart and the mouth? How about our words and health? Stop and think about that some more.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd