Proverbs Chapter 5

by Rick

(5:1,2) Your Decisions and Words

(Prov 5:1,2 NIV) My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by embarking upon a new chapter.  It has taken us a few months to get through the first four chapters and we have 27 to go.  I am looking forward to it and I pray you are as well.  Solomon starts out this new chapter with another plea to us, as his sons, to pay attention to the wisdom he is sharing with us.  This is wisdom he has received from God.  He has made this plea over and over.  He knows that there is a danger that some will merely read what he is writing without ascribing to God’s wisdom as a rule.  In other words, there are many that know the Word of God, but they don’t know the God of the Word.  He urges us NOT to simply participate in a mental exercise, but rather to receive God’s Wisdom, in our inner man (our spirit), and to apply it to every area of our lives.  He teaches us that if we receive, embrace, and apply this wisdom, we will be able to maintain discretion and preserve knowledge in our lips.

Webster defines discretion as: prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution.  In my own words, discretion is the ability to distinguish between what is right and wrong, Godly and ungodly, spiritual and secular.  It is the ability to operate in discernment – where we receive spiritual revelation that guides us towards the things of God.  Solomon is teaching us that when we apply God’s truth and walk in His wisdom we are able to choose wisely, to make Godly decisions.  This is of the utmost importance, because as I often say, your life is a grand-sum-total of your decisions.  You are where you are today because of the decisions you have made in the past and where you wind up in the future has a great deal to do with what you decide today.

Furthermore, just as I have taught you that your words are an indication of what you have in the deposit of your heart, Solomon tells us that when we apply God’s truth, when we fill our heart with His revelation, and when we maintain discretion, our lips will preserve knowledge.  In other words, our lips will be a blessing and not a curse for us.  Our lips will build us up and not tear us down.  Our lips will protect us and not harm us.  Solomon later taught that the power of death and life is in our tongue (Prov 18:21) and when we ascribe to God’s ways and when we fill our heart with his truth, then we can’t help but speak life and not death, blessing and nut cursing, success and not defeat.  What’s in you abundantly has to come out of you eventually.

So what does this mean to you today? The best way to wrap this up is to share with you the Contemporary English Version of verse two.  It says, “You will have sound judgment, and you will always know the right thing to say” (CEV).  That’s is about as plain as it could be.  This series is about learning to live your life God’s way.  The main areas covered in these two verses (your decisions and your words) have a great deal to do with living your life God’s way.  When you develop the ability to make decisions and to speak words that line up with God’s Word, which is God’s wisdom, then you will find yourself living God’s best life now.  It’s like experiencing heaven on earth.  That’s God’s best!  He wants His will to be done on earth AS IT IS in heaven.  But for that to happen in your life, you must cooperate with the process.  Your decisions and your words have a lot to do with it.

Confession for today:  Lord God, I thank You for providing me Your wisdom documented in Your Word.  I declare, by faith, that I will ascribe to Your wisdom daily.  I meditate on Your Word day and night.  I will my will to line up with Yours.  I submit to Your way of doing things.  Your Word is so full in my heart that it influences my decisions and it spills out into my words.  My decisions and my words help me to experience days of heaven on earth!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(5:3,4) Discernment and Discretion

(Prov 5:3,4 NLT) For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.  But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In the last message Solomon told us to pay close attention to the wisdom he was sharing with us, because we will need that wisdom to maintain discretion; the ability to judge critically and to distinguish between right and wrong.  The Lord knows that we need discretion operating in our lives on a daily basis, because the attacks from the enemy are endless.  Our enemy is a deceiver, he is a conniver, and he will do everything he can to get us to go down the wrong path, to stray from God’s best.  It with this in mind that we read today’s passage and Solomon here talks about the immoral woman.  Some translations list her as an adulterous woman or another man’s wife.  Some scholar’s believe that she is a prostitute.  Whatever the case, this is obviously a woman (or man for that matter) with which the reader has no right to legal/marital sex.

This woman comes with sweet words that drip off her lips like honey, and therein lays the danger.  This is the deception that I was talking about.  She may come to you with smooth, sweet, and flattering words, she might paint a picture of sensually enticing bliss, she may look and sound very tempting and that is exactly her aim.  She is telling you what you want to hear.  She is appealing to whatever remnant of lust and illicit desire may remain in your heart.  And she is doing it in such a way that SEEMS like it will turn out for your good, but you and I both know that sin leads to death, and more especially, sexual sin is tremendously dangerous.  Sexual sin can quickly destroy the bonds of a family; it can tear apart husbands and wives, father and sons, mothers and daughters.  It can erode a person’s desire, will, and ability to love.  It strips a marriage of intimacy.  It degrades partners to mere objects.  It can lead to disease and unplanned children.  It is utterly dangerous and extremely destructive and this is exactly why the enemy uses it so much.  It is sexual sin, perhaps above all other forms of sin, that has caused the fall of many church leaders that were doing so much good.  When the leader of a church falls to sexual sin it causes some to question their walk with God, some to make concessions for sin, saying “Well, Pastor such and such did it,” and then – and probably the worse of all – it causes some to avoid the church and God altogether, claiming that Christianity is not but a gathering of hypocrites.

This woman may start off speaking sweet words of honey, but in the end you realize that she is spewing bitter poison and yielding a dangerous double-edged sword.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must operate in the discretion Solomon talked about in the previous verses.  Paul told us not to be ignorant (2nd Cor 2:11) of the devil’s schemes, tricks or ways.  The enemy will always seek to paint a rosy picture of sin.  He will make every attempt to lure you from God’s best.  His temptations may start off sweet as honey, but they end with the debilitating power of poison and the sharp edge of a sword.  When you operate in divine discretion, with spiritual discernment, you are able to see right through the smoke screen of the enemy and to resist the temptation of sin.  So walk closely with God, by led of the Spirit, remain consistent in prayer, and you will be able to develop the discretion you need to avoid the pitfalls of the enemy!

Confession for today:  Lord God, I declare, by faith, that I walk with You and You walk with me today and every day.  I am led by Your Spirit, I am governed by Your Word, I am ruled by Your law.  I operate in spiritual discernment and I am able to distinguish between right and wrong, between God and satan, between blessing and cursing.  I am not tricked by sweet lips of honey and I am able to avoid both the poison and the sword.  I walk in righteousness, holiness, and purity, and I do it by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(5:5,6) Strong Conviction

(Prov 5:5,6 NLT) Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  For she cares nothing about the path to life.  She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In our last message Solomon warned us against the immoral woman who starts off speaking sweet words of honey, but in the end you realize that she is really spewing bitter poison.  For she is deceived and she does not know it, and unfortunately she becomes a tool of the enemy, used to deceive others along the way.  This is why Solomon urged us to develop both discernment and discretion.  We need both to identify and resist the temptations from this woman and to remain on the path of God; the path that leads to God’s desired end for our lives.  Solomon now tells more about this woman.  Let’s take a closer look:

Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave:  Other translations say plainly that her steps are taking her straight to hell.  We all make a multitude of decisions daily.  Our decisions and our actions take us in some sort of direction.  For you, for those that subscribe to Today’s Word, I pray that your decisions and actions are taking you down the path of life, the path of God, the path towards your destiny.  But the sad reality is that although we are all moving, we are NOT all moving in the right direction.  This immoral woman, along with millions of others like her, is moving in the wrong direction.  She is moving towards death, hell, and the grave.  Little by little, day-by-day, she moves further and further from God’s best and her sweet words are designed to lure others with her.  Stay away from her.  Resist her – and those like her – with all your might.  Use the power of the Holy Spirit to remain consistent on your pursuit of God’s best.  We are all moving somewhere, so just be careful who you hook up with.  Not everyone is trying to get where you are trying to get to.  Don’t be deceived by what looks good at first, but winds up being bitter poison.

For she cares nothing about the path to life:  Have you met people like this?  Not only are they on the wrong road, but they want nothing to do with those that are heading down the right one.  They resist every attempt you make to share God’s love, light, and leading with them.  They are only concerned with influencing you.  They resist every attempt to be influenced.  They want nothing to do with God, they care nothing about the path of life.  Associating with these type of people may seem harmless at first, but believe me, it is dangerous.  You must protect your soul from the wrong influences.

She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it:  Perhaps the saddest commentary about her and those like her is that they are deceived and don’t know it.  They are adamant about their cause, their trail, their path, their ways.  They may seem completely sincere, but sincerity does not guarantee accuracy.  They can be sincere and sincerely wrong, sincerely deceived and sincerely misled.  These people need Christ, their eyes need to be opened to the reality of their deception, and if God leads you to share His love with them, do it!  Just be careful not to succumb to the craftiness of he enemy.  He will do all he can to get you back on deception road!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you need to know where you are going.  You must have a strong conviction about your relationship with God.  We were all once children of darkness and disobedience; deceived and on the path to hell.  You have been redeemed from that path, so never go back.  Don’t allow sweet words to entice you to go backwards!

Confession for today:  Lord God, I thank You for calling me out of the kingdom of darkness and delivering me into the Kingdom of Your dear Son.  I am no longer deceived.  I no longer walk down the path that leads to death, hell, and the grave.  I am on the path of light, love, and liberty.  I am on the road to my destiny and I won’t turn back.  I won’t allow sweet words to lure me off the path You have set before me.  I have a strong conviction and I shall not be moved.  Forward ever, backward never!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(5:7,8) Go Down Another Street

(Prov 5:7,8 NLT)  So now, my sons, listen to me.  Never stray from what I am about to say: Stay away from her!  Don’t go near the door of her house!

I pray you had a wonderful Christmas time, full of family, fellowship, food, and fun.  Although I am not with my immediate family, here in Iraq, I had a great time and I am Godly excited about what He is doing here.  Please pray with me for great ministry to take place all over Iraq.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” as Solomon continues to warn us against the immoral woman.  This is a woman (or man) that is worldly and knows it.  She is comfortable with sin and desires to lure as many people as she can to her sinful ways. Solomon has already told us that her feet are on the path that leads to death.  God, through Solomon, is urging us NOT to get on that path with her.  In this morning’s text we can sense the urgency in Solomon’s words.  He pleads to us, as sons, to listen to him.  If we are sons – both figuratively the sons of Solomon, having received fatherly counsel from him, and literally the sons of God – then we ought to heed the warning.  Sin is not something to play with.  As sons of God we are not to dibble and dabble in sin.  We have been called out darkness, into the marvelous light (1st Peter 2:9), have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13), and have been raised up together, with Jesus, seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).  So for us, for Born-Again believers, for the sons of God, we should pay close attention to what God is saying through Solomon and stay away from this immoral woman and her temptations to sin.  God says to us this morning, “Don’t go near the door of her house!

We all have to get to the point where we are fully persuaded, where we sincerely choose the path of righteousness, where we are sick and tired of playing around with God.  This reminds me of a book aptly titled, “The Book With Five Chapters.”  In chapter one there was a man who walks down a street and fell in a hole.  That’s the end of chapter one.  In chapter two the same man was walking down the same street, this time he saw the hole, and fell into it.  That’s the end of chapter two.  Don’t worry, this is a quick book.  In chapter three the same man walked down the same street, saw the same hole, and then tried to go around the hole.  Guess what happened?  He fell in the hole.  In chapter four the same man walked down the same street and saw the same hole.  This time he stopped, backed up, stretched out, got a running start, and tried to jump over the hole.  And yes, he fell in the hole.  In chapter five he read chapters one through four and decided to go down another street! This is what God is telling us through Solomon this morning.  You don’t need any more encounters with sin in your life to realize that sin leads to a never-ending cycle of your falling into a hole.  So if you are at the “chapter five” of your life this morning, then take a few moments to read chapters one through four.  Pause long enough to think of the many times where sin has caused you to fall into a hole.  If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got.  If you are ready to change then you are going to have to change.  Bottom line: you cannot change without changing!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should stay away from sin and the very appearance of evil.  Don’t fall to the temptation of the immoral woman.  Don’t even go near the door of her house.  If you are foolish enough to make it to the door, then you are I both know that you are going in.  Determine within yourself this morning to go down another street!

Confession for today:  Lord God, You have done too much for me, in me, and with me, for me to dibble and dabble in sin.  I repent for having played with sin in the past and I resolve this morning to walk in the love, light, and liberty that You have established for me.  I will not disgrace You, nor grieve the Holy Spirit, by going in the door of the immoral woman.  I declare, right now, by faith, that I will walk down another street.  I simply choose to change and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I am able to change, by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(5:9) Don’t Lose Your Honor

(Prov 5:9 NLT) If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman.  This woman represents anyone who lives in sin and seeks to lure you to join them.  He told us to stay away from the door of her house.  I told you to go down another street.  As Solomon continues to flow in this vein he now explains that if we don’t listen, if we don’t heed the warning, if we fail to resist the world’s temptation to sin, then we run the risk of losing our honor and squandering years under the hand of merciless people.

To get the full meaning of what Solomon is saying you must put yourself in his shoes.  The word honor may mean different things to different people.  In Solomon’s day it meant a great deal.  Also, he was a king and kings understand the significance of their honor.  To Solomon this would have meant: your dignity, reputation, and strength.  Your honor is who you are.  You honor is who people know you to be.  Your honor is what you represent.  Your honor is your witness.  Your honor is your voice.  Your honor is the beacon of your life.  When you fail to resist the temptation to sin and you succumb to the immoral woman (or man), then you taint your honor.  You run the risk of losing your good name.  Later on in Proverbs (22:1) Solomon would teach that, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”  It takes many years to establish a good name, but just a few minutes to destroy it.  When you dibble and dabble in sin you are toying with your name.  Your honor, what you represent, your witness, is on the line.  Is it worth it?  Is a few minutes of supposed pleasure worth destroying all that you have spend years to develop?  Is a few moments with an immoral woman worth destroying your relationship with your spouse and children?  Is a few dollars from ill-gotten gain worth destroying your reputation?  Is a few words of unleashed and uncontrolled anger worth devaluing the rest of the words that you speak?  Is what people call a white lie worth violating your integrity?  That’s what God through Solomon is teaching us this morning.  Our actions DO matter and we should closely consider the outcome they will produce.  Good or bad, right or wrong, blessing or cursing, we will reap what we sow.  If you don’t like what you are reaping, then it is time to check the seed you are sowing.

We might not have had much growing up in Brooklyn.  I was raised on welfare, food stamps, and other sorts of government assistance.  I have been working since I was 13 years old.  When I was 15 I worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week during the summer for my uncle, who paid me $150 a week.  I had friends that sold drugs and were making $10,000 to sometimes $50,000 a week.  They offered me thousands of dollars to do what was wrong, but I never did.  I never sold drugs, nor took them.  I have never even taken a puff of a cigarette.  Why?  Because I had a mother who taught me about the word honor.  She taught me about dignity, respect, integrity, and hard work.  She taught me the value of a good name and I loved her too much to tarnish it.

So what does this mean to you today? It means the choice is yours.  You can succumb to the temptation to sin and run the risk of ruining everything you have spent years to develop in God and in society, or you can resist sin and maintain your honor, dignity, and good name.  Our text says that you can lose all that you have achieved to the hands of merciless people.  That’s not what you want.  Stay with God, stay the course, and walk in the Blessing!

Confession for today:  Father God, what You have done in my life is too precious to me for me to squander.  I declare, right now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that I rule over my emotions and they don’t rule over me.  I have self-control and self-constraint.  I resist the temptation to do wrong and I have the discipline to do the honorable thing!  I maintain my good name and shine as a beacon of light in my community; representing You well in all that I do!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Making a Difference in 2009!

(Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV) “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”

This morning we take a pause from our current series to share a special message about the coming New Year.  I have taught on vision before I pray you have clear vision for 2009.  If you don’t yet, I pray you receive it in January.  The scriptures that I am meditating on for 2009 are the ones that I share with you this morning, from Isaiah chapter 60.  In chapter 59 Isaiah talked about sin, confession, and redemption.  He urged the Israelites to turn back to God and to be the examples of righteousness that Jehovah called them to be.  In chapter 60 he sends out a clarion call for them to be light in the midst of darkness; to make a difference in the world.  We will come back to this. In chapter 61 he prophesied about the coming Messiah – Jesus the Christ – and how through Jesus the brokenhearted would be healed, the captive would be made free, the poor would have the gospel preached unto them; and how the Lord would provide the oil of gladness to those who are mourning and a garment of praise to those who are in despair.  Well, Jesus has come, His Kingdom has been established, and He did all the things Isaiah prophesied that He would do.  However, Jesus’ ministry did not stop when He ascended up into heaven.  He was God incarnate, but we are the continuation of His incarnation.  For Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

We started this year with a series entitled, “Faith and Patience Volume II – Joy and Peace in Believing.”  That series was based upon Romans 15:13 where Paul said, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  For months I taught you about maintaining the excitement we receive from God’s joy and the serenity/stability we receive from His peace.  I told you that if you are able to keep a firm grip on both joy and peace, while you are believing God, while you are in the space between the promise and the performance, in the space between “Amen,” and “There it is,” that you would be able to maintain your faith long enough to see whatever you are believing God for to come to pass.  Now, at the end of 2008, I can clearly see why the Lord had me to start the year off with that series.  This has been a year where many have lost their jobs, their homes, and their hope.  Banks are filing for bankruptcy, financial giants are falling left and right, and the candle of the world is burning dim.  Well, this is NOT the time where the church, the believers, the Kingdom of God should remain silent.  Light does its best work in the dark.  This is the time where you are to have that Joy and Peace.  This is the time where you are to walk in Faith and Patience.  This is the time where you are to let God’s light shine through you, before men, so that they can SEE your good works and glorify the Father (Mat 5:16).  This is your time to, like our text says, arise, shine, and allow the Glory of the Lord to come upon you to make a difference.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can emulate the world and allow this supposed recession/depression to affect your internal condition or you can rise up, stand upon the promises of God, believe God to use you to make a difference, and shine brightly as light in the midst of darkness.  As a believer, as a child of God, as a Kingdom citizen, you don’t have to accept everything the world brings your way.  What will 2009 be for you? A year of Glory or a year of gloom?  Remember, you become what you behold.  So what are your eyes fixed on right now, the news or the Word?  Allow God to make the difference, in your life, in 2009!

Confession for today:  Father God, I thank You for all that You blessed me to experience in 2008.  But now, I am looking forward and not and backward.  I am Godly excited about 2009.  I enter into this New Year with Joy and Peace, Faith and Patience, Hope and Confidence.  Arise, shine in me Lord, and permeate Your glory through me for all to see!  You and I Lord, together, we make a difference in 2009!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

Walking in Light and Love in 2009

(Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV) “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”

First of all, Happy New Year!  I pray you had a great transition into 2009 and I pray that you receive clear vision, from the Father, for this year.  My desire is that all believers find, follow, and finish God’s plan for their lives.  The first step is receiving the Father’s desire for you.  Then, you must have the discipline and perseverance to follow it all the days of your life, so that one day you can say, like Paul, “I have finished my course.”  With that in mind, I am thankful to the Father for having blessed me to teach our current series.  I sincerely believe that we need God’s wisdom operating in our lives, fully, if we are to maximize our potential in Him.  So I pray that you continue to read the “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” series daily and that you apply His wisdom to your life in 2009.

As I prayed over what to share with you as the first message in this year I was led to leave Isaiah 60:1-3 as our focus text.  I want you to read and re-read these verses and allow them to get down into your spirit.  The world is looking for answers right now.  The financial crisis has caused a whirlwind for many.  The Oval Office is about to change hands, we have service members deployed on two fronts, the Global War On Terrorism is still raging, and some people are very concerned, if not afraid of their future.  But it is in times like these that Kingdom citizens should stand out even the more.  We are to arise and shine.  We are to allow the glory and the light of God to permeate through us.  What is the goal of applying God’s wisdom to our lives if not to become more and more like Him?  Becoming His representatives, His emissaries, His ambassadors – that’s what the wisdom of God enables us to do.

God does many things.  He rules, reigns, sits on the circle of the earth, judges, forgives, shows mercy, kindness, and etc.  Yes, God does many things, but there are only two things that God IS:

God is light:  “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.   But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1st John 1:5-7).

God is Love:  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love… If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1st John 4:7,8,15,16).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that as you pursue His wisdom in 2009, you must do so with the primary focus of being more and more like Him.  Don’t pursue things, pursue Him.  Seek to be transformed into the light and love that He is.  This way you will shine in the midst of darkness, love in the midst of hatred, forgive in the midst of bitterness, lead in the midst of confusion, and become an example of purity and holiness in the midst of immorality and sin.

Confession for today:  Father, I thank You for teaching me Your truth in 2009.  Thank You for releasing revelation, insight, wisdom, and knowledge into my life.  As I receive and respond to Your wisdom, as I apply Your truth to my life, as I walk in Your ways, I shine as Your light and become a conduit of Your love.  I release my spirit, soul, and body to You and I declare, by faith, that You use me to make a difference in my sphere of influence in 2009 and beyond.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

(5:10) Poverty is Not God’s Will

(Prov 5:10 NIrV)  Strangers will use up all of your wealth.  Your hard work will make someone else rich.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman.  This woman represents anyone who lives in sin and seeks to lure you to join them.  In this text we learn that if we succumb to her temptation, if we open the door to satan, if we live the life of sin, then we run the risk of living without God’s blessing.  The removing of His blessing opens us up to the affects of the curse and the curse can affect every area of our lives, including our finances.  Nowhere is this clearer than in Deuteronomy chapter 28.  In the beginning of the chapter the Lord, through Moses, lays out to the Israelites the benefits of walking in obedience.  It is basically a description of the life of a person who walks in the Blessing.  But then, after verse 15, it describes the life of those that choose to walk in disobedience.  I cannot break down the entire chapter in one sitting, so to summarize I will just talk to you about verses 3-5 that deal with the Blessing and verses 16-18 that deal with the curse.  Please take the time to read these verses some time today.

v    (v.16) Cursed in the city and in the country:  This is a direct opposite of v.3 where we see that obedience caused them to be blessed (empowered to prosper) everywhere they went. It would not matter if they were doing business in a city or if they were farming the countryside, if they were completing a deal in the midst of a built-up area or if they were alone with their sheep.  Their physical location was not a limiting factor for the Blessing to work in their lives.  Their obedience would release the Blessing of God, no matter where they went and no matter the type of business they had to do when they got there.  The opposite holds true for the curse and for disobedience.  God wants us to do well, He wants us to succeed, He wants us to prosper, but when we live a life of disobedience we hinder Him from helping us to experience His best.

v    (v.17) Cursed basket and kneading trough:  This is a direct opposite of v.5 where we see that their “basket” and their “kneading bowl” would be blessed.  This basket was used to carry fruit or grain (see 26:2).  This is what they used to bring in their food from the fields.  The “kneading trough” is also translated “bread bowl” and was used to prepare family meals.  This was a promise for their daily bread; a promise that there will always be food on the table.  Once again, the opposite is also true.  Disobedience opens us up to the curse and the possibility of NOT having enough food.  It is never God’s will that we starve, that we be hungry, or that there be hunger in the world, but God is restricted from getting involved in our lives when we fail to involve Him and when we live lives of disobedience – lives opposite to Him and His will.

v    (v.18) Cursed womb, fields, and herds:  This is a direct opposite of v.4 where we see that God would bless them with lots of children, crops, and herds.  Children were a major desire for women and crops and herds were the two major means for the men to make a living.  God promised to reward obedience with an abundance of children, large harvests, and fertile herds.  The opposite holds true for disobedience.  Barrenness is never the will of God.  Barrenness is listed here under the curse, not the blessing.  Barrenness of the womb causes distress, disappointment and despair.  Barrenness of fields and herds causes poverty and lack.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants to bless you, but you hinder Him from doing so when you live a life of disobedience and when you fail to involve Him in your daily affairs.  God will not force Himself upon you.  If you want the Father involved in your life, then you need to involve Him through prayer, worship, and obedience to Him and His Word.

Confession for this day:  Father, Your desire for me is the blessing and not the curse, life and not death, good and not bad, provision and not poverty.  I have failed to get you involved in the past, but I declare, by faith, that it stops today.  I invoke and involve You in my daily affairs.  I resist the temptations of the immoral woman and what she represents.  I walk in obedience and love and thank You for walking with me all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

(5:11,12) Regret or Reward?

(Prov 5:11,12 MSG) You don’t want to end your life full of regrets, nothing but sin and bones, Saying, “Oh, why didn’t I do what they told me?  Why did I reject a disciplined life?

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman.  In our last message we learned that if we succumb to the temptation of the immoral woman, if we partake of and live in the life of sin, we open ourselves up the risk of financial ruin.  Not only that, in this text he tell us that our bodies can be affected.  Our text says that we can wind up, at the end of our life, as nothing but sin and bones.  Another translation of verse 11 says, “In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body.”  Is this the way you want to end your life?  Do you want your final days to be days of groaning, complaining, and regrets?  Do you want to have to look back over your life and remorse over the life you could have had?  The life of sin leads to regret, disappointment, despair, and overall dissatisfaction.

As I prepared to go to sleep last night I watched a few minutes of an interview with a very famous woman, a billionaire, who in the past has openly confessed of how she has problems with agreeing with the God of the Bible and how she sees believes in a more universal god.  Without getting into specifics I will simply say that the interview was about her dissatisfaction with herself and her physical body.  She admitted that all the money and fame means nothing if she is not at peace with herself.  As I watched her I could do nothing but pray for, that she come into a true relationship with Jehovah, our God, through His Son, Jesus the Christ.  If she doesn’t, she will be like the countless of people that wind up on their deathbed full of regrets.  As they waste away the life they could have had, the life they should have had, flashes before their eyes.  For many of these people knew better, many of them heard the gospel, many of them knew the way of God, but for whatever reason they chose a different life.  They rejected obedience and they wound up missing out on the life that God wanted them to have.  They missed out on God’s best.

Yesterday I mentioned Deuteronomy chapter 28.  That chapter is an awesome example of the choice God lays out for us.  It is the choice to obey or disobey; the choice to live the life of discipline and righteousness or to live the life of reckless abandon and sin.  Whatever our decision, whatever our choice, we will reap the outcome of it.  What conversation do you want to have with your children while you are on your death bed? Do you want to tell them NOT to be like you?  Do you want to have to urge them to avoid the path that you chose?  Do you want them to listen as you run through your list of regrets?  Or do you want to be ready to transition from earth to glory, from time to eternity, from labor to reward?  Do you want them to gather around as you lay hands on them and bless them?  Knowing that you have lived a Godly life before them; an example of righteousness, virtue, and truth.  Take a moment to picture the scene in your mind.  Which scene do you want to live out, the one or regret or the one of reward?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that, like I often say, the choice is yours.  The fact that you are able to read this email, that you are still living, that blood is still flowing in your veins, that air is still flowing through your lungs, is evidence that God is not through with you.  So maybe you haven’t been the person you should be.  Maybe you have rejected Godly discipline in the past.  If that is you, then make a decision, right now, to change your life forever.  Walk in obedience, ask the Father to help you to develop discipline, and allow the love of God to make the ultimate difference TO you, and then THROUGH you!

Confession for this day:  Father, yesterday ended last night.  I am looking forward and not backward.  Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  I declare, by faith, that I live the life of love, discipline, and obedience that You desire for me to live.  I walk as an upright example for my children and others.  You with me and I with You, together we make a difference.  No more regrets!  Forward ever, backward never!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(5:13,14) Discerning Divine Appointments

(Prov 5:13,14 MSG) Why didn’t I listen to my mentors, or take my teachers seriously?  My life is ruined!  I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!”

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman.  Solomon has provided us ample warning from living the life of sin.  In our last message he painted the dreadful picture of the man that walked down the path of temptation and wound up at the end of it.  The end of this path leads to a life of regret, remorse, and disappointment.  I asked the question: what conversation do you want to have with your children while you are on your death bed? This is a valid question and one worth an answer, a true answer, a soul-searching answer.

Solomon continues to flow in the same vein as he continues the litany of the regrets the sinner plays out in his mind.  He regrets not listening to his mentors and teachers.  He regrets not producing all that he knew that he could or should have with his life.  Our days on the earth are limited.  We are all born for a reason and with a purpose.  It is my prayer that you find, follow, and finish your purpose, in the earth, before you die.

The sinner here regrets not listening to the many mentors and teachers the Lord sent his way.  This reminds me of the well-known story of the man caught in a flood.  He slowly made his way to the top of his house, sat on his roof, and prayed.  He prayed that the Lord would deliver him from the dangers of the flood.  Shortly after his prayer a man with a small rowboat came by and offered him a ride to safety.  The man refused the offer saying, “The Lord will deliver me from this flood.”  A few hours later, after the waters had risen a bit higher, the coast guard arrived.  They had a vessel in the water full of others they had already saved.  They threw the man a life preserver and a rope.  Once again, the man refused saying, “The Lord will deliver me from this flood.”  And then finally, after the waters were dangerously close to the man, a rescue helicopter arrived.  They lowered an emergency lift basket to the man, but once again, he refused the offer saying, “The Lord will deliver me from this flood.”  The helicopter left and shortly thereafter the man drowned.  You know the story.  He stood before the Father in heaven and asked, “Why didn’t you save me?”  To which the Lord replied, “I tried three times.”

The error of the man in the story was that he could not discern what was or wasn’t God.  He was waiting for God to move in his life in some supernatural way, but the reality is that God, more often then not, moves in our lives in simple ways.  He comes through others.  He sends people our way to say what we need to hear when we need to hear it.  He sets up divine appointments for us all the time.  The man in our text misunderstood the advice and counsel of his mentors and teachers.  As he realized that he was at the end of his rope, at the final days of his life, he then acknowledged the many times that God attempted to lead, guide, and direct him through others.  For whatever reason – arrogance, pride, etc. – he rejected their teaching and now all he has left is regret and remorse.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should take self-inventory.  Are you listening to God?  Are you hearing His advice and counsel through the many others He has sent your way?  Are you making the mistake of thinking that the many divine appointments you have had have been mere coincidences?  Believe me, the Lord sends ministers, teachers, brothers, sisters, and even children your way with His Word in their mouth.  Have an ear to hear so that you will not be full of regret and remorse in your last days.

Confession for this day:  Father, I thank You for speaking to me.  You speak to me directly, in prayer and through Your Word, but I also know that You speak to me through others.  So as You setup divine appointments for me, I declare, by faith, that I have the discernment to know what is and isn’t of You.  I don’t reject the counsel of my mentors and teachers and I allow You to develop me through them – all to Your glory!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

(5:15-18) Drink From Your Well

(Prov 5:15-18 MSG)  Do you know the saying, “Drink from your own rain barrel, draw water from your own spring-fed well”?  It’s true. Otherwise, you may one day come home and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.  Your spring water is for you and you only, not to be passed around among strangers.  Bless your fresh-flowing fountain!  Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman.  In our last message Solomon taught us about allowing God to teach us through the many people He sends our way.  I call these divine appointments and we ought to seek God for discernment concerning them.  We don’t want to wind up like the person in the text who arrived at the end of life and realized that God had been trying to teach him all a long, but he never listened.

Solomon now clearly urges us stay away from the immoral woman, especially when we have our own wife.  He tells us to drink from our own rain barrel, to draw water from our own spring-fed well.  If we ignore our own wife, if we choose to continue to chase after other women, one day we will come home and find our barrel empty, our well polluted, our marriage destroyed.  Not only that, but marriage is beautiful and honorable.  He calls the well a spring-fed well.  It’s a source of refreshment and sustainment.  It’s a flowing fountain; a place of blessing.  He tells us to truly enjoy the wife of our youth.  We should never run tired or weary of the relationship that is designed to be life-long and ever rewarding.

Solomon is directly writing about marriage and adultery, but the connotation is that this warning applies to all that the immoral woman represents.  She represents the life of sin and the temptations thereof.  Your wife represents the life that is pleasing to the Father.  The lesson here is to NOT give up life in God, the Good life, the Blessed life, the Pleasing life, for a life that may seem pleasurable, but in the end, produces nothing but bitter water.  The enemy will attempt to get you to believe the grass is greener on the other side, but the reality is that in Christ our grass is always green.  The allusions of the world are short-lived.  Sin may provide temporary pleasure, but before you know it, you realize that you are on the wrong path and you run the risk of ruining everything you and God spent years to build.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  This is the Good life:  First and foremost, as a believer you should not envy the world at all.  They have nothing to offer that is better than God.  In God you can live a wonderful, fulfilling, and full life, without any side-affects.  Your joy in Him can be full every day and you don’t have to worry about hangovers from alcohol, side-affects from drugs, or the destructive repercussions of sin.  The Good life is clean, powerful, and free of worry, stress and strain.

2.  There is enough room to operate:  I don’t focus on what I can’t or shouldn’t do now that I am a believer.  I focus on the many things that I can and should do for the Father and for the Kingdom.  There is way too much to do in life that is pleasing to the Father to be concerned about what you gave up when you switched kingdoms.  Whatever you gave up, believe me, it is worth it.  Nothing in the kingdom of darkness is better than the Kingdom of light!

3.  Have fun:  Love your life.  Have a great time.  Yes, it is God’s will that you make it to heaven, but it is also His will that you enjoy the ride!  I don’t like it when people tell me that they are not ready to become a Christian, because they still want to have fun.  That tells me that some people that call themselves Christians are poor representatives for God.  Don’t be one of them.

Confession for this day:  Father, You are my well.  You are my source.  You are my life.  I drink from You.  I enjoy what is right, I walk in Your ways and I love it.  I live a joy-filled, purpose-driven, fulfilling life.  I don’t have to run after strange women or strange wells.  I drink from my own well and I am refreshed, renewed, restored, revived, regenerated and ready to face this day and every day with You and Your blessing.  The Joy of the Lord is my strength!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

(5:19,20) Keep the Excitement in Your Covenant

(Prov 5:19,20 MSG)  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love.  Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman.  In our last message Solomon told us to drink from our own well, to enjoy our own spouse, to cultivate our own relationship with God and not to foolishly look for replacements.  This immoral woman is warning against defiling both our natural and spiritual covenants.  Falling to her temptation means breaking covenant, not just with your spouse, but with your Lord.  So let me address this from both levels: natural and spiritual marriage.

Naturally speaking, it was never God’s intent for marriage to be a temporary relationship.  I know this may not be popular teaching today, with all the fly-by-night marriages and the drive-thru marriage chapels in Vegas, but it is the truth nonetheless.  Marriage is supposed to be a covenant relationship between three entities: husband, wife, and God.  This threefold cord is not easily broken (Ecc 4:12).   But please don’t see it as some sort of cord that binds you in a tangled web.  No, marriage is supposed to be a relationship that provides lifelong satisfaction and companionship.  Solomon tells us that we ought to be ever captivated by the love of our spouse.  We ought to continually enjoy their intellectual, emotional and physical presence.  Their bodies should provide us a never-ending source of pleasure.  Marriage is not supposed to be dull, boring and lifeless.  Sex is a gift God gives to married couples for their mutual enjoyment.  True happiness comes when we decide to find pleasure in the spouse God has given us and to commit ourselves to meeting his or her needs for a lifetime.  This satisfaction enables us to easily resist the lure of the immoral woman (or man).

On a spiritual level we are in a covenant with Jehovah and this covenant is for eternity.  Just like naturally speaking we are to remember the wife of our youth, spiritually speaking we are to remember the God of our salvation.  I remember when I first gave my life to Christ (August 27th, 1995).  I was on fire.  I knew that I was no longer going to hell and I was overwhelmingly thankful.  Every once in a while I go back to that initial joy and I tap back into that well of gladness.  Whenever I do I thank the Father for sending His Son to die on the cross for my sin and for saving me from death, hell, and the grave.  I may thank God for many things, I have come a long way with God these 13 years, He has shown Himself strong in my life time and time again, but I will never stop thanking Him for salvation.  I will never stop going back to the initial and simple truth that He snatched me from eternal damnation.  To me, that is the God of my youth.  My understanding of God has grown over the years and I now better know the great and wonderful things He has done in my life, but I will never cease to thank Him for the first and greatest thing He did.  And just like with the natural, this is what keeps my covenant with Him fresh.  Just like I go back to enjoy the wife of my youth, I also enjoy the God of my youth.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must make every effort to keep both covenants – your natural marriage with your spouse (if you are married) and your spiritual marriage with God – fresh and exciting.  Never forget the God or the spouse of your youth.  Cultivate both relationships and keep them exciting, electrifying and exhilarating.  This way you can easily resist the temptation to break either covenant!

Confession for this day:  Father, I thank You for providing me the spouse You designed for me.  My spouse meets my needs and pleasures me in ways that keep a smile on my face, a spring in my step, and I a song in my heart.  I also thank You for saving me from the pits of hell.  I will never cease to thank the God of my salvation.  Both covenants that I have – natural and spiritual – are precious to me and I will never violate either.  I keep both relationships fresh, exciting, and exhilarating.  I resist every temptation to break either covenant.  By faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

(5:21) The Lord Sees it All!

(Prov 5:21 NLT) For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman, which has been going on for a while now.  It was about two weeks ago that we got to chapter five and in verses 3 and 4 Solomon said, “For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.  But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword.”  The rest of the chapter has pretty much been a warning against the immoral woman and all she represents.  Her goal is to get us on the path of sin, the path that leads to death.

After giving us numerous warnings against her Solomon gives us a simple reminder that the Lord clearly sees everything we do.  He examines every path we take.  He considers every decision we make.  The Message Bible translation of this verse says, “Mark well that GOD doesn’t miss a move you make; he’s aware of every step you take.”  To make this point even clearer let me share a few more verses with you.  Later on in Proverbs Solomon said, “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere” (15:3).  In Ecclesiastes Solomon said it this way: “Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil” (12:14).  Job said, “His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step” (34:21).  The writer of Hebrews said, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (4:13).  The Lord sees it!  He sees every thing we do – good and bad.  He sees every decision we make – righteous and unrighteous.  And we will have to give account for it all.

So what does this mean to you today? There are two things I want to highlight:

1.  There is no cover from God:  The Bible is clear. Everything that is done in the darkness shall be brought to light.  Don’t think that you can hide anything from God.  One day you will have to give account for ALL of your life.  I was once teaching a lesson and I asked the question: what if Jesus came down from heaven and walked around with you all week this week?  What if He went with you to literally everything you did?  Would you have to change your schedule?  Would you be embarrassed about taking Him to some of the places you plan on going?  Would you still say the same things you plan on saying?  Would your conversation or conduct be different?  Think closely about the answers to these questions, because the reality is that He is with you always.  If you are a Born-Again believer, then you are taking the Holy Spirit with you (inside of you) everywhere you go and additionally, the Father is omnipresent, so He is everywhere you go anyway.  Take this into consideration as you plan your day and your week.

2.  Nothing is lost on God:  If the first part (no cover from God) brought you conviction, then this part should bring you comfort.  The fact that God sees it all, that He is always with You, and that He considers everything that happens in your life, is comforting because that means that He also sees all the wrong that people attempt to do towards you as well.  He sees every attack of the enemy before they make it.  He sees every evil plan against You before it comes to fruition.  And He also sees how you maintained your integrity through it all.  The fact that our Father knows, and the reality that He cares, gives us the confidence that He will enable us to come through it all ON TOP!

Confession for this day:  Father, I thank You for being in me, on me, with me, and for me.  I take You with me everywhere I go and I since You are omnipresent, You are also already there before I get there.  You are everywhere and You see everything.  I confess and repent for the many times I have missed the mark.  I ask You to cleanse and purify me afresh and anew.  And I also thank You for giving me the confidence to know that You have seen every attack against me.  I trust that You will move against those that move against me.  I rest in You.  I enter this day with internal and eternal peace.  I serve the Lord who sees it all!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

(5:22,23) Sin leads to Death!

(Prov 5:22,23 MSG) The shadow of your sin will overtake you; you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark.  Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by continuing with Solomon’s teaching on the immoral woman.  I hope by now you understand the seriousness of the warning against the immoral woman and all she represents.  The Lord, through Solomon, is clearly warning us against falling to the temptations to sin.  It may look good initially, but the end of sin is death.  James explained this well when he said, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.”  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (1:13-15).  From James we learn that:

1.  Temptation does not come from God.

2.  None of us are exonerated from temptation.

3.  Temptation CAN BE resisted.

4.  If not checked, temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death.

What James taught is a perfect parallel to what Solomon has been teaching us all throughout chapter five.  The key here is discipline.  Many who dibble and dabble in sin do so, because they think they can stop whenever they want.  They fool themselves into thinking that it is not a serious problem.  But repeated sin becomes customary.  Over time it becomes a habit, the habit becomes a stronghold, and the stronghold entangles them in a tangled web so strong that they can no longer find a way out.  The text says that they stumble over themselves in the dark.  Since they failed to exercise discipline, self-control and restraint they wind up, at the end of their lives, in a dead end.  They look around and realize that this was not the destination they wanted.  They know in their heart that is was not the destination God wanted for them.  It’s a sad reality, but they allowed themselves to be tricked down the wrong path.  Tricked by the enemy and tricked by their own conscious.  For overtime they trained their conscious to embrace, accept and live with the sin they once resisted.  Another translation says, “He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”

So what does this mean to you today? It means – and I pray the message is clear by now – that the Father wants you to live a Spirit-led and purpose-driven disciplined life.  I am not saying that once you and I come to Christ we are sinless; for we know that we are not perfect.  But I am convinced that we should sin less!  Sin should no longer be our lifestyle.  Sin should no longer be comfortable for us.  Sin should no longer be customary.  Paul asked the question, “So what do we do?  Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving?”  You and I both know the answer.  Paul went on to say, “Of course not!  Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Rom 6:1,2).  So if you do commit the occasional sin, be quick to repent and move on.  But please don’t allow it to be your lifestyle.  If you do, it will entangle you in a tangled web and you run the risk of winding up at the wrong destination in life.  That’s not what you want, that’s not what I want for you, and more importantly, that’s not what the Father wants!

Confession for this day:  Father, I thank You for giving me the power to resist sin and satan.  I am not deceived.  I know the gruesome reality of the dangers of playing with sin.  I am committed to living a life that is pleasing to You.  I am committed to arriving at Your desired destination for my life.  I am committed to being an example of righteousness in the earth.  I am committed to allowing Your light and Your love to permeate through me for all to see.  I walk in discipline, self-control, and constraint.  I submit myself to God, I resist the devil, and he flees from me!  I am delivered from the power of sin and I walk in the newness of life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!