Tag Archives: proverbs

Unwavering faith that brings results

Experience faith, live in faith, and rejoice in the results of faith. God is the source and giver of faith that permeates our lives and brings results that only God can do.

We cannot create faith. Through God, we can experience it.

‘Believe and receive’ is not ‘name it and claim it.’

“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” {Mark 11:23-25, Amplified Bible).

Just believe and you have it? Name it and claim it? No, that is not what this Scripture teaches. The type of faith Christ is talking about was taught in the Old Testament also, long before Christ taught it in the New Testament. Of course Christ, through the Holy Spirit who inspired the Old as well as the New Testaments, is the Author of the the following passage from Proverbs as also.

“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6, The MSG).

From Proverbs 3, we get a hint of the source of this faith: God is the author. We cannot muster it up. We cannot earn it. It is a gift from God as we “listen for God’s voice in everything…everywhere.” We cannot create faith. We can only experience it.

Struggling with doubt

So how can I get God to give me this faith that receives answers to its need? One man did it very simply. He just asked for it with a yearning heart, and set the example for us all:

“And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.

And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!

At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!” (Mark 9:22-24).

We simply ask God with an “eager, piercing” even an “inarticulate” cry. In other words, we ask him sincerely. We recognize our own inability to believe with this kind of faith (“help my weakness of faith”). We may not even be able to express our need (inarticulate), but God knows our heart.

God responds to the truth in our hearts, not to the words we on our lips. We ask God to give us this faith constantly, as the father in the above Scripture did, and to teach us to live in a way to receive it constantly.

Mark 11:23-25 (first passage in this study) also teaches that we cannot believe with sincere faith if we harbor un-forgiveness. “Let it go” the Bible teaches. When we “leave it, let it go” Christ promises that he will “forgive you your own failings and shortcomings and let them drop.” So the basis of this type of faith is being right with our fellow-man, and right with God — the first two Commandments found in Exodus 20, to love God supremely and to love others as ourselves. Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40).

How can we find faith like this?

This leads us straight to the Source, the Author, the Giver of faith that takes over our lives and brings the results that only God can do: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

Yes, faith comes by reading God’s Word. Do you read the Bible, God’s Word, daily? We must live according to God’s principles to experience this unwavering faith. Yet, how can we know God’s principles if we are not reading his Word?

Living by faith

Paul said to the Colossian Christians: “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7 Amplified Bible).

We cannot have this unwavering faith unless we first have an unwavering life. We cannot believe and receive unless we first commit all situations of our life to the Lord Jesus Christ. So now it is time to go forth and experience faith, live in faith, and rejoice in faith. We can trust God, not because we muster up the faith to believe, but because our God has proven himself faithful!

Live in God’s Word today,
Lois

04. Ideas for daily devotions and Bible reading

Ideas for daily devotions and Bible reading. You’ve made a commitment to read the Bible each day. Do you read it from cover to cover, or is there a better plan?

Where do I start?

Here are some ideas to get you started

A Proverb a Day for Wisdom

There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. This book contains the most profound wisdom man has ever known.

Plan to read a chapter each day, one for each day of the month. Read the one that corresponds to that day. For example, on the 17th of the month, read Proverbs 17.

If you miss a day, you don’t have to try to catch up. Just read the Proverb for the appointed day. You may want to read these Proverbs in a different translation each month.

A Psalm a Day to Drive the Devil Away

Years ago a pastor shared this item. I have no idea where the original source is, but it has been helpful to many. Just read the Psalm listed each day, and start over the next week. You will read the same seven Psalms every week. These Psalms were selected because they are so meaningful to the issues we face today.

Monday – Psalm 73 – “Problem of the prosperity of the wicked”
Tuesday – Psalm 103 – “Praise for all God’s blessings”
Wednesday – Psalm 37 – “Cool it! Walk by faith”
Thursday – Psalm 139 – “God’s all-seeing eye”
Friday – Psalm 122 – “Joyful anticipation of God’s house”
Saturday – Psalm 51 – “The need for cleansing”
Sunday – Psalm 43 – “Cleansed, and ready for worship and service”

Ideas for Branching Out

Don’t limit yourself to only Psalms or Proverbs however. You need a plan that will nurture you from all the Spiritual food groups of God’s Word. Here are some ways to accomplish that:

  • Use the concordance in the back of your Bible or a Bible promise book (several types of these are available in Christian bookstores) to find all the promises you can in the Bible. Determine which promises are unconditional and which ones are based upon a condition that we must meet.
  • Use your concordance to study the lives Bible people. Try to determine what made them great, or what made them fall short. Notice how God worked in their lives, and their responses. Learn from their examples.
  • Read and study one book of the Bible at a time. Read a chapter, or just a few verses each day. If you are new to Bible study, try starting with the book of St. John, then read Acts and continue on through the New Testament. Then go back to Genesis and begin reading the Old Testament.
  • When you come to the “begets and begots” and other passages which seem boring, just skip over these for now. God has them there for a reason, and some day you will want to go back and explore the truths hidden underneath their surface.
  • If you come to something you don’t understand, just try to apply the things you do understand. None of us understands the Bible completely. It has very simple as well as very profound truths in it. God will gradually teach us more and more as we read it. The things that are hard to understand at first will become easier to understand as we study the Bible as a whole.

How to Establish a Daily Quiet Time

Contents
00. How to establish a daily quiet time – Introduction
01. What is a quiet time, and why do I need it?
02. Finding time for daily devotions and Bible study
03. Selecting a Bible translation for daily study
04. Ideas for daily devotions and Bible reading
05. Online resources for your daily Bible study

Scripture taken from King James Version unless otherwise noted

06. Positive support: Praising right choices

Praising right choices our children make reinforces them. Even in wrong choices, we can praise the right desires we’ve planted in our children from God’s Word.

I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life (1 Samuel 1:11).

An Irrevocable Vow

As Christian parents we must say with Hannah of all our children, “I will give him (or her) to the Lord for all the days of his (or her) life.” Hannah made a special promise called a Nazarite vow.

And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.

“So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

–1 Samuel 1:11, 28

Hannah’s Nazarite vow (“and no razor will ever be used on his head”) is not applicable to our day. However the principle of dedication of our children is not only appropriate, but mandatory if we would bring our children up to honor the Lord.

An Unremitting Reminder

We must tell our children from a young age that they are being raised for the Lord. We must remind them of this over and over. We must make sure they understand that we have embedded this goal in their life. We must let them know as they mature that this responsibility to live for the Lord is being shifted to their shoulders. We must remind them that the teaching we have given them puts an extra burden of responsibility upon them before the Lord to live by God’s principles. We must let them know that this is what we expect. We must always be positive in our teaching. Our children have a choice. They will learn that soon enough. But we must always reinforce the right choices.

An Expressed Positiveness

Even when they seem to be going in the wrong direction, we can know what we have sown in our children’s hearts, and we can affirm them:

“I know you want to do the right thing, because you love the Lord. Let me pray with you that he will help you make the right choice.”

“You did the wrong thing. But I know your desire now is to do what God wants. I know you are going to follow what God shows you to do about this.”

“God is going to remind you of all the things we’ve talked about. I just know God is going to do great things in your life!”

We must take every opportunity we can to let our children know how proud we are of the right choices they make. Even in the midst of their wrong choices, we can praise the right desires we know we’ve planted inside them.

We should praise our children’s obedience before they rebel. If our children display a hint of rebellion, we must renew our praise for their obedience before the leaven of rebellion has a chance to rise. Even if the rebellious attitude had to be squelched by our firmness, even if the child really did not want to obey, we can inspire our children to squelch the rebellion themselves next time:

“I was so proud of you tonight. You started to argue with me about going out with your friends. But when I told you ‘No, this is how it will be,’ you accepted that. I’ve seen a lot of kids be very disrespectful of their moms in situations like that. But you did what I told you, even though you really didn’t want to. You’ve always respected what I’ve told you, and I want you to know how much I appreciate that.”

Then we can reel in the catch by praising this child to another adult in the child’s presence at the first opportunity:

“He (or she) is a good kid. He respects me, and he obeys me, and he really wants to do the right thing. I couldn’t be more proud of him!”

Next time he starts to disobey, he will be so compelled to live up to the standard Mom has set that it will most likely take only a gentle “You’re not obeying me” to turn the tide.

An Unrelenting Love

We must let our children know that we are always praying for them. We must teach them that to depart from God’s principles is to walk on our prayers and to walk on God’s love. But we must also let them know that they can never do anything to depart from our love or God’s love. We must teach them about God’s love with our love. We must prove to our children over and over that no matter what they do we always love them.

When our children fall short of the principles we teach them, we must be there to support and help them back to the right way–never to criticize. We must respond to them as God responds to us.

An Endearing Discipline

We must love them enough to discipline when necessary. Here are some of the things the Bible teaches about discipline:

Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother….
Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

–Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 29:15,17; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21

A mother must discipline her children from an early age. Sometimes parents disagree on the discipline of their children. When the father’s ideas of discipline differs from the mother’s, a mother may not be given the opportunity to discipline her children as she would like. But a mother must always love her children enough to demand their respect.

A mother must never, never allow her children to speak disrespectfully to her. She must love them so purely that with only a glance she inspires their admiration of her integrity and sacrificial love. She must love them so firmly that with only a word she employs their desire for her approval and fellowship to produce a reverential respect for her authority. She must demand nothing less than utmost respect from her children.

“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16).

An Adept Example

The Apostle Paul was a master at incorporating the above principles into his ministry. To him, the churches he had established and nurtured were his children. In 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11 (quoted in the next session), Paul shows us his father heart. He compares his ministry to that of parent to child.

In almost all of his epistles (letters) to the churches, he began with affirmation and commendation.

The Philippian church was his most well-behaved “child,” the child after his own heart. He told the Philippian church he was praying for them, and expecting great things from them. He did not overlook the dissention between two women who were apparently disputing. However, he did not labor the point. He let them know that he loved them, and that he expected unity.

Corinth was a wicked city, and the church at Corinth tried Paul’s patience at times. This was the child who had never grown up. This child was prone to be rebellious, to follow the world. He had to be firm with this child.

The first letter to the Corinthians displays something of Paul’s firmness–still mingled with love and positive hope, but abounding with discipline. He is reminding them that they have been “trained up” in the way they should go, and that he will not accept their departing from that way now.

The second letter reveals more of Paul’s heart. Even for Paul, the master at balancing discipline with affirmation, it was hard to know how to handle this child. He did not want to be overpowering in his discipline, yet he could not approve the evil in them.

He “disciplined” them in his first letter, but after they had both had an opportunity to think and pray about the situation, he took the initiative to write to them again. He didn’t apologize for his discipline, but he made sure they understood the spirit with which he gave it. And he did indicate that some of the things he had led them to do in his previous letter needed to be amended at this time. He admonished them in love to live up to the positive things he was expecting of them now.

Application

Our children need both our positive support and our consistent discipline. When we are angry or disappointed with our children, or when our children are angry because of our discipline, we can’t really “finish” the job. We haven’t finished until we go back to that child after things have settled.

We must not apologize for our discipline if it was merited, but we must apologize if we have displayed any misbehavior toward our child. We must make sure our child understands the heart and spirit of our discipline, and the reason for it. We must then let our child know that we already feel proud of the way we expect him to behave in the future.

Our children are looking for someone to believe in them. As mothers, we must be that someone!

Thought to Remember

We must take every opportunity we can to let our children know how proud we are of the right choices they make. Even in the midst of their wrong choices, we can praise the right desires we know we’ve planted inside them.

Questions for Discussion

  1. This sounds good. But HOW do I pull it off? I need some PRACTICAL advice.
  2. What do we do when our children rebel?

Nazarite Scriptures

Nazarite Vow Requirement for Hair:
Numbers 6:5 “`During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long.

Sampson:
Judges 13:5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Samuel:
1 Samuel 1:11 And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

John the Baptist (Compare Luke 1:15 with Numbers 6:3):
Luke 1:15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.

Numbers 6:3 he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins.

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

01. Train a child: Just one will do

An unbelieving spouse, grandparents, sick parents, incarceration, jobs, divorce, foster parents, adoptive parents, visitation rights, guardianships, and custody situations influence training children at home.

“Train a child in the way he should go….” (Proverbs 22:6).

Circumstances

Circumstances sometimes prevent us from being able to train our children as we wish.

There are single parent homes whose children spend time with other parents out of God’s will. There are divided homes where one parent out of God’s will lives in the home. There are grandparents who have the grandchildren part-time. There are sick parents, parents in prison, parents whose jobs call them away from home. There are foster parents, adoptive parents, visitation rights, legal guardianships, and child custody battles.

Circumstances, unfaithfulness of others, and situations beyond our control do play a part in the development of our children. Negative influences may encourage them to take wrong paths sometimes. But if one Christian parent or guardian adheres closely to what God tells that individual parent to do, no matter what other influences in her child’s life, that child will not depart from what that parent taught him. Gods Word says so!

Promise

The Bible says: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The New International Version indicates “train” can even mean “start”. Moses’ mother only got to start Moses in the way he should go. Samuel’s mother the same. But look what great men of God these sons were!

If we as individual parents do all we can to train our children to follow Him, God says they will not depart from our training. The home should be a Spiritual incubator to nurture our children to Spiritual maturity. But even in our sin-sick world where homes are divided and our children sometimes take wrong paths, we have this promise: Our children can never get away from the Spiritual principles we instill in their minds!

Timothy

Consider the example of Timothy’s family:

“He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek” (Acts 16:1).

Timothy’s mother was a Jewess. The Jewish nation believed in the one true God, although they did not always follow him and sometimes even worshiped pagan gods. Occasionally someone from the other nations would believe in the one true God also, but this was rare. The rest of the world for the most part served only pagan gods when Timothy was growing up.

Acts 16 says of Timothy, “whose father was a Greek.” The Apostle Paul wrote this to Timothy:

“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

Paul excluded Timothy’s father from his reference to the faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother. These Scriptures indicate that Timothy’s father did not believe in the one true God.

Timothy’s father probably led him according to pagan ways. He probably taught Timothy to follow the world. But Timothy’s mother and grandmother had the faith to believe that if they trained young Timothy in the way he should go he would not depart from the training they gave him. They did not sit around and pine because Timothy’s father was an unbeliever. They simply did what God said to do, and that was enough. The ideal is that both parents lead their children in the way they should go. But if one parent doesn’t, this does not cancel God’s promises to the parent who does. God will honor his promise if one parent will do what God says to the best of her ability!

What is involved in getting this to work? This is what we will discover from Scripture during the upcoming days. God’s part is to keep His promises to us, and he always does. We will talk more about this, and we will also talk about how to do our part. In the next session, we will start with the first step.

Application

God always has something very special to give you when you open His Word. Pray now and ask him to show you what he has for you in this Bible study.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3.)

Questions for Discussion

  1. What does the Bible mean by the word “train?”
  2. Who does the Bible say must do the training of our children in order for them not to depart from the way they should go?
  3. If a child is exposed to the wrong training consecutively with the right training, does this negate the promise?
  4. What is the “right” training?
  5. Does the phrase, “when he is old” indicate he might “sow his wild oats” first?
  6. This sounds good, but I don’t have an ideal home. Will this work in my circumstances?

Thought to Remember

They simply did what God said to do, and that was enough. The ideal is that both parents lead their children in the way they should go. But if one parent doesn’t, this does not cancel God’s promises to the parent who does.

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted