October 27, 2017

Today you should read: Proverbs 28

Chapter 28 has so many great things to say to us.

When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.  But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability. (v.2)

We’ve all seen this first hand – whether it’s been in federal, state, or local government – here or around the world.  The moral fiber of a people is either it’s strength or it’s destruction.

Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich. (v.6)

Money, pleasure, and material possessions are among the things we value most important.  But what are they worth?  What would you sell yourself for?  Honesty is of greater value than wealth.  To be able to look yourself in the mirror is priceless.

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if the confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. (v.13)

Secrecy kills – Honesty heals.  Hiding a sin doesn’t make it go away or solve the issue.  Confession (1 John 1:9) – admitting the sin and taking steps to avoid it bring healing.  God is merciful to us – not giving us what we really deserve.

Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble. (v.14)

Stubbornness comes from our pride.  We believe we know best.  According to this verse – it can be deadly in our relationships and in our lives.  Fearing the Lord and fear of doing wrong can be a compass to guide us in a confusing world.

This chapter had A LOT of great things to say.  What stood out to you?  Share it with us today.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

October 26, 2017

Today you should read: Proverbs 27

Proverbs 27 fits right in the middle of a section of Solomon’s Proverbs starting in chapter 25 through chapter 29. As I read these Proverbs, they always remind me of riddles. The thing about a riddle is that you must often repeat it over and over in your mind, yet once you figure out the answer it’s hard to figure out how you missed it.  

Solomon’s Proverbs are not often immediately obvious. Or rather, a lesson could be gained at an immediate glance, but as you consider and inspect the elements of the Proverb, you realize that each one is deeper or more applicable than you thought.

Take for example, verse 7, “One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.” Solomon is contrasting two types of people, a full person and a hungry person. Consider also that the full person is loathing honey—who does that? Honey is not just good by itself, but it is beneficial to every other food item it touches. Bread is good, but bread with honey is awesome; tea is good, but tea with honey is awesome, etc.

Solomon contrasts this full-loather-of-honey, with one who is hungry. This person experiences the sweetness associated with honey, even when eating something bitter, why? Because when you’re really hungry, satisfaction and survival go hand in hand. You are thrilled to eat anything.

Ok, so let’s think about this, is this proverb really about eating? Sure, you can say that, it definitely rings true. However, let’s apply this proverb to affection. Think about a person who is full with affection, say from parents, spouse, other family and friends—basically appropriate sources. They don’t need anything more, but they may not appreciate how sweet it is. However, if a person is starved for affection, they appreciate any act of kindness.

More than food, I think this Proverb is about appreciation. How thankful are you for what you have in every area of life?

What proverb stood out the most from chapter 27? What is God challenging you to do about it as you’ve spent time thinking about it?   

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Assoicate

October 25, 2017

Today you should read: Proverbs 26

Of all 28 verses in this chapter, I want to zero in on one verse. Verse 11 says, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” This verse convicts me down to the bone. We as believers have this amazing gift of salvation through Jesus. And if that were not enough He gave us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and guide us, and comfort us, and convict us. Then if that still were not enough God blessed us with His word.

The point is that we have been given everything! We have salvation and victory over sin because of Jesus. Through the Spirit and God’s word being stored up in our hearts we can overcome temptation and not sin. Even with all of that. Even though Jesus through His death brought us out of hopelessness and destruction, we willingly return to it. Just as a dog returns to vomit.

We were locked in a cage and bound in chains until Jesus saved us. He ripped the door off and threw the chains on the ground and said you are free. He gave us all that we need to never return to that place, and yet we on our own run from those things and go sit in a cage with no door and cover ourselves with chains that have no lock.

We as followers of Jesus have to see that we are equipped and He is faithful! We don’t have to go back! We are free in Christ! I hope that today as you meditate on this that you would embrace the grace of Jesus and exit the cage that has no power to Hold you.

By: Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associates

October 24, 2017

Today you should read: Proverbs 25

There are many things that the Lord knows that are simply beyond our understanding. Since God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (universally present), our trust should be in Him, not in our limited ability to reason or think. Verse 2 hits on this very idea:

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
Proverbs 25:2 ESV

We often will “search things out” to an unhealthy extent, especially where it concerns God’s will and our lives. We want to know every moment of our future, and in fact, we wouldn’t mind being a part of the planning process. But what if the Lord has concealed those things for a purpose? What if God wants us to live in the now? Could it be that the Lord truly knows our hearts and knows what we would do/be if we could see too far ahead? Let me say it in a different way:

What if God wants us to enjoy Him in His present will, right now, without us worrying about the future?

My thought is this: we typically look at “God’s will” as only a future series of events, a life yet to come. The truth is, though, that most of us are currently surrounded by opportunities to make a Kingdom impact (today & this week). Seize them! Live every moment for Jesus. Even one of the most famous verses about God’s will emphasizes present obedience ahead of what the future holds:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 ESV

Don’t get me wrong… Jesus wants you to have a godly future. You’re just not ready to see it today. That’s why it’s called faith!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV

What jumped out at you today? How are you going to apply what you’ve read? If nothing else, consider this: leave the concealed things to the Lord. Besides, would you trust them in your hands anyway?

By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor