Category: Proverbs–BibleTrekToday

The power of Faith in God

Scripture reading for January 16th: Mark 11, Psalm 11, Proverbs 11

Mark 11: 21-25 “And Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Jesus taught His disciples the power of prayer and the power of our mouth and tongue to bless or curse. He used His own cursing of the fig tree that had no fruit but only leaves to illustrate the power of faith and of our words. Like the disciples of old, we face many mountains and obstacles during our pilgrimage on earth. We often fail to ask God for help or to believe His Word and speak in faith to the mountains. Jesus used an illustration visible right there to these disciples in that Herod had literally moved a mountain over about 10 years with many slaves to build his palace. Jesus likely referred to this human feat and the Dead Sea glittering in the distance to impress a vital truth on the hearts of his disciples.

Proverbs11:11-12 “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown. Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.”

Prayer: Father God, I choose again today to ask for Your forgiveness for my lack of faith and sometimes my failure to forgive others and belittling them. Fill me with grace and faith in Your Word that I may ask You for strength to remove and move mountains of difficulty, bitterness, and unforgiveness. May they all be cast into the sea of Your grace! May my mouth bring blessings to my family or help me remain silent!

Psalm 11:7 “For the Lord is righteous; He loves the righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face!”

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Don’t hinder the children!

Scripture reading for January 13th: Mark 10, Psalm 10, Proverbs 10

Mark 10: 13-16 “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”

All children are special in God’s sight. He loves them and longs to bless them, but people often hinder the children from coming to Jesus! These disciples were rebuking parents who were bringing their children to Jesus. Jesus got angry with them! He insisted on the children being allowed to come to Him. When they did, He used them again as an illustration of how their simple faith and trust was what the kingdom of heaven was all about. They loved Jesus and found joy in His blessing. In fact, Jesus loves the fatherless and abused children and those who are oppressed and held back by mistreatment! He promises to stand up for them and bring justice! But His greatest desire was and is to bless abundantly!

Psalm 10:17-18 O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your heart towards the children, particularly the fatherless, the abused, the oppressed and the abandoned. I love how You long for them to come to You. Help me to bring them to You in prayer and to see Your blessing extended to them causing joy and hope to arise and giving joy to Your heart. Forgive me for neglecting the children or hindering them. Let all barriers be removed!

Proverbs 10:28-29 “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.”

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Greatness through serving!

Scripture reading for January 12th: Mark 9, Psalm 9, Proverbs 9

Mark 9: 33-37 “And they came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another abut who was the greatest. And He sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And He took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in My Name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him Who sent Me.”

Jesus was the Wisdom of God in human flesh. His disciples had been arguing about who of them was the greatest of disciples. Jesus asked them what they had been discussing so energetically, not that He did not know! They kept silent at His question but He answered it for them with a short statement: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” He then picked up a child, considered among the least of that culture. He encouraged them to receive a child in His Name. That act was equivalent of receiving Jesus Himself, and not only that, receiving His Father Who sent Him! That is true greatness–serving the least in Jesus’ Name and for the Father’s glory.

Proverbs 9:9-10 “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to instruct Your disciples in true greatness. I am seeking to follow Jesus’ teaching and example by applying this wisdom to my life and modeling it for those in my family and in the church. Guide me today into more wisdom and knowledge of how to properly serve each person that I meet or have relationships with. I trust You and seek You today in this time of trouble.

Psalm 9:9-10 “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Your Name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

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Wisdom: “take up his cross and follow Me!”

Scripture reading for January 11th: Mark 8, Psalm 8, Proverbs 8

Mark 8: 34-38 “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father will the holy angels.””

Jesus called out to the crowds and directly again to His disciples. His call was to take up their cross and follow Him. What a strange thing to ask of your followers! Carrying the instrument of their own cruel death and following Jesus would not normally be attractive. Jesus explained that loving our life here on earth would cause us to lose our relationship with Him. We would not find the way of the cross that leads to real life. Jesus explained that to lose our lives in following Him was to gain life! We must not be ashamed of Him, His death on a cross for us, or His resurrection to become our Savior! We confess our confidence by faith and take up our cross and follow Him to eternal life and victory over death!

Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens.”

Prayer: Father God, I confess my utter dependence on You and Your way of salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed of Jesus Christ, my Lord, or of His Gospel of repentance and salvation through His sacrifice on the cross. Fill me with fresh boldness to declare the Gospel message in simplicity and in power, with conviction through the Holy Spirit, opening eyes and drawing the lost to salvation.

Proverbs 8:10-11 “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”

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Our heart is where defilement dwells

Scripture reading for January 10th: Mark 7, Psalm 7, Proverbs 7

Mark 7: 18-23 “And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not into his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a person.””

In Jesus’ day, there were many rules about what you could eat and drink and what would make a person ‘unclean.’ The religious folks loved to make a big deal about these rules about food. But Jesus wanted His disciples to recognize the true source of defilement. It was not the food they ate or abstained from eating, but what was in the heart of man. All evil and wickedness comes from a heart that is defiled by rebellion against God and His Word. Jesus declared all food clean if eaten with thanks to God and prayer of blessing. But the heart of man can only be delivered from wickedness by confession (repentance) and faith in Jesus’ sacrifice of His body and blood. These are the true food and drink of the redeemed!

Psalm 7:12-13 “If a man does not repent, God will whet His sword; He has bent and readied His bow; He has prepared for him His deadly weapons, making His arrows fiery shafts.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for bringing conviction to my heart of the evil within me, so that I might be drawn by Your goodness and mercy to repentance. Cleanse my heart each day as I read Your Word, remove any sin or evil that would bring dishonor to Your Name and bring Your wrath upon me and those I might influence. Help me to share Your great mercy through the Gospel to those yet unrepentant.

Proverbs 7:24-28 “And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your hear turn aside to her (the prostitute) ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.”

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Touching the Garment of Jesus!

Scripture reading for January 9th: Mark 6, Psalm 6, Proverbs 6

Mark 6: 53-56 “When they had crossed over, they came to the land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized Him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard He was. And wherever He came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored Him that they might touch His garment. And as many as touched it were made well.”

The word about Jesus spread like wildfire among the people in the land of Gennesaret. Jesus had just fed the five thousand by dividing the five loaves and two fish from a boy’s lunch. He had sent the disciples in a boat ahead of Him while He spent time in prayer. He had walked over the water, gotten in the disciples’ boat, and now they were met by crowds of people bringing their sick on beds. They had evidently heard about the woman who touched Jesus’ garment and was healed. They found Jesus in the marketplaces. They begged to touch His garment as well! Each one who touched was healed! Faith is simple, contagious and brings the joy of results!

Psalm 6:2-3 “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled, but You, O Lord–how long?”

Prayer: Lord God, sometimes, when we are stuck on a bed of sickness, even our bones feel troubled! Forgive us, like the psalmist of old, for crying out in our impatience! Thank You Lord for Your promises of healing from Jesus that reflect Your Father-heart. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and gifts of healing that I might touch people in Your Name in life’s meeting places and marketplaces. Amen! Hallelujah!

Proverbs 6:20-22 “My son, keep your father’s commandment and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.”

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Faith’s pursuit!

Scripture reading for January 6th: Mark 5, Psalm 5, Proverbs 5

Mark 5: 25-30 “And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out from Him, immediately turned in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?”

Mark recounted this story of a woman that had pressed in to touch Jesus’ garments. She had had a flow of blood for twelve years. She had spent all she had on doctoring, but was only worse. She was considered unclean because of her illness. She heard about Jesus and decided to pursue Him. Her faith was rewarded and she had the joy of healing, restoration, and immediate results! What a blessing and joy faith produces! God smiles and Jesus allows His power to flow out in response to faith!

Psalm 5:11-12 “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for giving Your church this story of faith’s pursuit. Help me to always pursue You with a pure heart for the needs that I have, realizing that in You is everything I need in life. As You met this woman’s need immediately, allow Your power through the Holy Spirit to flow through me and Your people to bring grace to those You are drawing to follow You. Praise the Lord! Amen!

Proverbs 5:21 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.”

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Joy–but no root!

Scripture reading for January 5th: Mark 4, Psalm 4, Proverbs 4

Mark 4:13-17 “And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all parables? The sower sows the Word. And these are the ones along the path, where the Word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the Word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the Word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately they fall away. . .”

Jesus asked His disciples if they understood His parable of the sower and the soils, telling them if they couldn’t understand this parable, all other parables would also be beyond their comprehension. He explained to them the meaning of this key parable, repeated in three Gospels. The sower is Jesus or any of God’s appointed messengers. The Word of God is the Seed. Those who receive have soil in their hearts. For those whose heart is hard like the path, the Seed finds no place to lodge and Satan carries it away. Some with rocky soil, receive the Word with joy initially. The Seed finds crevices to lodge, but when persecution or trouble arises because of the Word, these fall away. Some soil is weedy, and the weeds, cares of this life, choke the Word and it is unfruitful. But the good soil produces an abundance.

Psalm 4:7-8 “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for sending those who sowed Your Word into my life. My mother, my Sunday School teachers, my pastors, and Your messengers all sowed. Thank You for softening the ground of my heart and faithfully weeding to cultivate Your precious Seed. May the harvest abound with more “grain and new wine” of souls saved and filled with Your Holy Spirit and the resulting joy!

Proverbs 4:18-19 “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. But the path of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.”

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Chosen and appointed

Scripture reading for January 4th: Mark 3, Psalm 3, Proverbs 3

Mark 3:13-16 “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might sent them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon, . . .

As Jesus chose those He wanted to follow Him, He called them out by name. Do you know that God knows our names? He knows where we have been, what we think, and what choices we will make in the future. In spite of what He knows, He loves us and calls us to follow Him. He even chose Judas Iscariot, His betrayer, knowing what would happen! He appointed each one to be an apostle. The word ‘apostle’ means ‘chosen and special messenger.’ It also means ‘sent one.’ They were first called to be with Jesus and see how He lived and ministered. These ‘sent’ ones must be properly trained by following their master. They watched as Jesus preached Good News, cast out devils, and healed the sick. He then sent them out to do the same! That process is still going on today!

Psalm 3:8 “Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be on Your people!”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for calling each by name to follow You and become Your ‘sent’ one to this lost world. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, empowering me to follow You today. Thank You for Your compassion for the lost and hurting. Teach me further to bring Good News to those in need of deliverance, healing, and release from demons. Use me to multiply ministry, making disciples.

Proverbs 3:21-22 “My son, do not lose sight of these–keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.”

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The Attraction of Jesus

Scripture reading for January 3rd: Mark 2, Psalms 2, Proverbs 2

Mark 2: 14-15 “And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he rose and followed Him. And as He reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him.

What was it that motivated those He chose as disciples to follow Jesus? Why were sinners and tax collectors attracted to Jesus? Why was He attracted to them? These questions come out as we read this passage speaking of how Jesus called disciples like Levi, a tax collector. He came to his house for a meal, Levi had invited many of his friends, fellow tax collectors and ‘sinners.’ Tax collectors were considered the lowest of the low, betrayers of their own people to collect taxes from them for the Roman oppressors. This really aggravated the religious folks! They demanded to know why Jesus would eat with them! Jesus simply replied, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (vs. 17)

Psalm 2:12 “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Son with the message that You desire to have fellowship and friendship with even the worst of ‘sinners’. Your message of Good News drew many sinners who found a new life of joy in Your grace and forgiveness. Help me to see others through Your eyes and allow the compassion You have for those lost in sin to flow through my heart and lips in sharing Good News!

Proverbs 2:9-10 “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”

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