Devotional Reading for March 24, 2023

Proverbs 13:8-9 “The ransom of a person’s life is his wealth, thus the poor person has never heard a threat. The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked goes out.”

There are some advantages to being poor – you’ll never have to worry about being kidnapped! The underlying idea is that rich people have problems too, sometimes even greater problems than the poor. Wealth doesn’t solve everything. That’s why righteousness is so important. When we have a right relationship with God it leads to wisdom, peace and joy. Wickedness leads to darkness, both literally (perhaps through idleness) and figuratively (because of the end result of refusing to follow God).

Ephesians 5:14 “Awake, O sleeper! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!”

Devotional Reading for March 23, 2023

Proverbs 13:6-7 “Righteousness guards the one who lives with integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. There is one who pretends to be rich and yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor and yet possesses great wealth.”

Poor and rich is about more than money. Spiritual wealth is much more important than material possessions, and spiritual riches start with a relationship with Jesus Christ!

Revelation 3:17 “You say, ‘I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,’ but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked…”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 “The LORD says, ‘Wise people should not boast that they are wise. Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful. Rich people should not boast that they are rich. If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the LORD, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,’ says the LORD.”

Trusting in riches is a form of wickedness and it leads to sin, while living with integrity and trusting and following God brings righteousness.

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Devotional Reading for March 22, 2023

Proverbs 13:4-5 “The appetite of the sluggard craves but gets nothing, but the desire of the diligent will be abundantly satisfied. The righteous person will reject anything false, but the wicked person will act in shameful disgrace.”

It doesn’t matter how much you want something if you aren’t willing to work for it! Unfortunately, your desire could drive you to do something wrong or illegal, which means that you may get rewarded initially, but you will end up a “shameful disgrace” with nothing to show for it. The diligent get what they desire because they are willing to work for it, and they don’t engage in anything “false” to get it.

Devotional Reading for March 21, 2023

Proverbs 13:2-3 “From the fruit of his speech a person eats good things, but the treacherous desire the fruit of violence. The one who guards his words guards his life; whoever is talkative will come to ruin.”

What comes out of your mouth comes from within. Good begets good. A good heart brings forth good speech which brings good outcomes. A bad heart brings forth bad speech and brings rotten results. And sometimes the smartest thing to do is to keep your mouth shut! A wise person knows when to speak and when not to, thereby bringing life and not ruin.

Devotional Reading for March 20, 2023

Proverbs 12:28-13:1 “In the path of righteousness there is life, but another path leads to death. A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer has never listened to rebuke.”

Once again we can see an earthly as well as a spiritual application here. Do good, stay out of trouble, and you have a better life! Do bad, get in trouble, and serious enough trouble leads to death. But the “path of righteousness” should remind us of Jesus, who died on the cross so that He could be our righteousness and we could have spiritual life through Him!

Romans 3:20-24 “For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed—namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

A wise child will understand the practical and spiritual warnings that come from physical or spiritual parents, and pay attention. A foolish child refuses to listen and makes fun of godly wisdom.

Sermon outline for 3/19/23 (Radio broadcast 3/26/23) — “Walking in the Light”

“Walking in the Light”
Ephesians 5:8-14

I)  We were ___________

II) We are now ____________

     A) __________ is light

     B) The ____________ brings light

     C) The ____________ gives us light

     D) Our essential nature is ___________

III)  Which changes the way we ___________

IV)  We are to be like _________!

     A) God is good, righteous, and __________

     B) So we are to do ___________

     C) We are to be ___________

     D) And we are to live with _______________

V) Which requires some _________________

     A) The _________ does show us how to live

     B) But sometimes we need ________________!

     C) And we need to be careful with 

VI) Discernment can lead to __________________

     A) We are talking about _____________

     B) We are called to __________ sinful behavior

     C) We do it to be ___________, not hurtful

Devotional Reading for March 19, 2023

Proverbs 12:26-27 “The righteous person is cautious in his friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. The lazy person does not roast his prey, but personal possessions are precious to the diligent.”

Who we choose as friends is vital. Those closest to us have a profound influence on our lives. While we certainly should try to reach out to the unrighteous, we should make sure that we surround ourselves with and listen to godly people, otherwise we can be led astray. Led astray to sin. Led astray in our spiritual understanding. Paul reminds us of this reality:

Galatians 2:11-14 “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews [Jewish believers] acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?'”

Laziness can lead to hunger. If we don’t work, we won’t have! We won’t have food. We won’t have possessions. We won’t have a home. Those things come from industry.

Devotional Reading for March 18, 2023

Proverbs 12:24-25 “The diligent person will rule, but the slothful will be put to forced labor. Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.

In general, industry is rewarded, while laziness isn’t. But punished with forced labor? Well, if you’re lazy enough to look for a shortcut like stealing, forced labor is where you will end up!

Anxiety, worry, and stress have all been scientifically shown to have negative effects on the body. Did we really need science to teach us that?!?!?! We all need the hope and help that kind, gentle, or encouraging words can bring. We may not always get it from others, but we can always look to God’s Word to find comfort, guidance, hope and joy.

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”

Devotional Reading for March 17, 2023

Proverbs 12:22-23 “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight. A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.”

As we’re going to see repeatedly in Proverbs, we shouldn’t speak when we don’t know what we’re talking about. Sometimes we seem the wisest when we say the least! But when we do speak we should always be honest and faithful. Gossip, slander, and lying are evil and an abomination before God.

Matthew 12:36-37 “I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Devotional Reading for March 16, 2023

Proverbs 12:20-21 “Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy. No harm will be directed at the righteous, but the wicked are filled with calamity.”

I think that we’ve covered this before, but it’s important to say again. Proverbs are not promises, they are probabilities. They are things that are most likely to be true, and we can usually see how they would come to pass. If you steal, say nasty things about others, or commit adultery, you have a much greater chance of problems in your life! Conversely, if you don’t, your life will be better because of all the trouble you avoid. So when we read, “no harm will be directed,” we understand that to be a statement of what is most likely to happen, not an absolute promise. If we take it as a promise, we’ll either be very frustrated when bad things happen to us that we don’t think are deserved, or we’ll be constantly examining our lives with a microscope trying to find out why we’re being punished.

So, having said that, what do we have here? If we promote peace and try to get along with others, we’re much more likely to have joy in our lives. If we try to deceive others and plot against them, it will probably bring calamity into our lives. If we’re honest, we can see how both are true, even if God doesn’t intervene directly!