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

Gold or Silver?

Do you want to be the winner of tonight’s race? Why? Why do we want to win so badly? What is it that would drive a person to focus so much of our life on getting to the finish line first? Why would someone spend hours in a shop working on a car? Because of the golden trophy? Because it is fun. Because it gets us excited. It is the thrill of victory. It is the thrill of competing, being on the edge. It is the sound and smells of racing. There is much to this sport to enjoy both for the young and the older ones. But our focus on racing can over shadow the LORD too easily and we have to have a correct balance in life. Proverbs helps us with that balance as it challenges us with statements that lead to accountability. Let’s continue.

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
How intentional are you in pleasing the LORD? I know the questions I ask are not easy ones, at least they are not easy for me, but they are important to ask and answer. Do you purpose to please, to obey God?

Proverbs 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.
What is more important to you? Your money or your morality? Your riches or your righteousness? What does your credit card statement say? What does you bank statement say?

Proverbs 16:9, 10 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.
Here we are again, the heart vs. what the LORD has. Can you see the clear picture, the case, God is building that we need to watch our heart closely and instead focus on the LORD so we are guided by the Spirit of God.

Proverbs 16:11 A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.
We are back to honesty. Are you honest in what you say and what you do? Are you honest in your home, at work, in school, in church, in play, on the track, in the tech shed, in your deals?

Proverbs 16:12-15 It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it. In the light of a king’s face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
How many world and national leaders, even state and local leaders could you give this verse to and them not really see them care or react? Going back to the passion week, think about the leaders’ reaction there. Anger, spite, revenge with a few having a hint of fear. But you are a leader too, in your marriage, in your family. Are you leading well?

Proverbs 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
When I think gold and silver I may think something different than you do. I think Olympics and in specific I think wrestling. I have the pleasure of knowing several men that have gone to the Olympics and won medals. I have seen the medals. Ben Peterson passes them around at the youth camps saying that they are the USA wins. His stories are great. But he will point to Jesus as much more valuable than the medals. As we have often spoken of in Proverbs only the LORD gives us wisdom and understanding. What would you rather have, the gold and silver or the wisdom and understanding? Be honest as you answer.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Todd