Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Winning Souls

I am writing tonight from  the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30.
Let those who have been trained for service now take their places quickly in the Lord’s work. House-to-house laborers are needed. The Lord calls for decided efforts to be put forth in places where the people know nothing of the truth. Singing and prayer and Bible readings are needed in the homes of the people. Now, just now, is the time to obey the commission, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Those who do this work must have a ready knowledge of the Scriptures. “It is written” is to be their weapon of defense.
God has given us light on His Word that we may give it to our fellow men. The truth spoken by Christ will reach hearts. A “Thus saith the Lord” will fall upon the ear with power, and fruit will appear wherever honest service is done.
The Lord calls for action. . . . Should we neglect to take advantage of this time, we should miss a great opportunity for letting light from God’s Word shine forth. The trumpet is to give a certain sound.
Say to the people: “Know for yourselves of the doctrine.” Let not your lips utter a sentence of doubt. Do not come before the people with an uncertain sound. Know what is truth and proclaim truth. Christ’s teaching was always positive in its nature. Never, never utter sentiments of doubt. Bear with a certain voice an affirmative message. Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary, higher and still higher. There is power in the exaltation of the cross of Christ.
Christ’s divinity is to be steadfastly maintained. When the Saviour asked His disciples the question, “Whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15, 16). Said Christ, “Upon this rock,” not on Peter, but on the Son of God, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (verse 18).
Great is the mystery of godliness. There are mysteries in the life of Christ that are to be believed, even though they cannot be explained.–Ellen White in a Letter 65, Feb. 13, 1905, to A. T. Jones, a prominent minister. 

You can study more about proverbs here.

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; God Has My Back

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3:26 NLT

Years ago, I was buying a used car, and was about to drive it off the lot, when I realized I had not even looked in the trunk yet, to make sure it had a spare tire and jack. I mentioned it to the salesman, who promised me it was there, so took his word for it and did not check the trunk.

Not even a week later, I was driving down the highway when a tire blew out. I pulled over to the shoulder of the road, patting myself on the back for asking the salesman, and making sure I had a spare and jack, to change the tire.

I opened the trunk and found the salesman to be half right. There was a tire, but no jack. I was a little less than happy and was wondering what I would do, stranded with no way to change my flat tire. I did not have to wonder for long. In just a matter of moments, a friend passed by, and spotted me on the side of the road. He pulled over, and of course had a jack for me to change my tire. in just minutes I was on my way again, and stopped by the car dealership where I picked up a free tire jack.

The foolish information the salesman gave me, almost had me trapped by the side of the road, but God was my security, when He had my friend come along and save me. Even when people try to trap you, God has your back every time.

You can Continue studying Proverbs with millions by studying this quarter’s Sabbath School Lesson Guides. 

Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Don’t Disconnect From Christ

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed. Proverbs 10:9 NLT

To me, walking with integrity means walking with Jesus. Before evil can take us down a crooked path, we must first disconnect from Jesus. I have learned not only to pray before reading my Bible, I have learned to pray before reading anything! Even when I read secular biographies and human interest stories I often find sermon illustrations or parables for myself. Also, if I feel uncomfortable praying about reading something, there is my first clue I should not read it! If we choose not to pray before a certain activity then we are consciously and intentionally choosing to disconnect from Christ.

That disconnect is where the crooked path begins. Jesus tells us in John 10:28 no one can snatch us away from Him. Yet, we are always free to leave Him by our own choice. Satan can’t force any of us to sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us God can deliver us from every temptation. Yet if we choose not to pray and stay connected to Jesus, then we have chosen to disconnect and go our own crooked way.

Please remember we are not like golf carts that can charge their own batteries and then run all day on their own power. We are like trolley cars which must always be connected to the cable or they can’t move a single inch. So long as we stay connected Jesus, Who is our Cable, we will never get off track.

Join millions this quarter who are studying the Sabbath School lesson on Proverbs.

Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Can People Who Don’t Belong to My Church Denomination Be Wise Too?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Proverbs 8:33 NLT

Is there a chance God tried to share His wisdom with us, be we rejected it because we didn’t like the Vessels He used?

Sure Isaiah 8:20 tells us if they speak not according to the law there is no light in them, but we need to be careful we don’t misunderstand and go overboard here. Isaiah was speaking specifically about spiritualism, and was making the point that when people contradict the Scripture there is no light in their contradiction.

Whatever men may speak that is not in harmony with that Word has “no light” in it. -Nichol, Francis D.: The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 4. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978; 2002, S. 144

So Isaiah was not telling us that if someone was not a Jew that there was nothing that could be learned from them. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was born, gentile kings came looking for Him while the “church leaders” were ignorant of His advent. Here is what Ellen White, co-founder of the Adventist Church had to say.

These learned teachers would not stoop to be instructed by those whom they termed heathen. It could not be, they said, that God had passed them by, to communicate with ignorant shepherds or uncircumcised Gentiles. They determined to show their contempt for the reports that were exciting King Herod and all Jerusalem. They would not even go to Bethlehem to see whether these things were so. And they led the people to regard the interest in Jesus as a fanatical excitement. Here began the rejection of Christ by the priests and rabbis. From this point their pride and stubbornness grew into a settled hatred of the Saviour. While God was opening the door to the Gentiles, the Jewish leaders were closing the door to themselves. –Desire of Ages, Pages 62-63

Have we tuned out a message from God because we were prejudiced against the person God used, and felt our theology was superior to theirs?

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 NLT

In united States elections you can vote for different individuals on the ballot for each office, or you can just just check one box and vote straight Republican or straight Democrat. If you vote straight for one party you don’t have to do any research on the candidates. Do we do this in the church? Instead of searching the Bible for ourselves do we just subscribe to whatever church we belong to, or our local pastor? Instead of searching the Bible to see if what was said is true, do we just go by who said it? If my church said it then it must be right, and if another church said it, then it must be wrong? If we are we are making the same mistake the church leaders made in Christ’s day! The Jews were God’s chosen people, but the gentiles had a few things to teach them as well about Jesus. The Bereans did not accept or reject what Paul taught based on what they thought about him, but based on whether or not he agreed with Scripture.

I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. My church has a message about sanctification not found in many other churches. However, one day I went to a Methodist church to hear a friend of mine sing in her choir. After the choir sang, a black woman stood up to preach. She spoke on Ephesians, and how the first half of Ephesians is about justification and us in Christ. The second half of Ephesians, she explained is about sanctification and Christ in us. She went on to preach the most powerful sermon I have ever heard on sanctification. I have “borrowed” her sermon numerous times, and received comments about what a wonderful “Adventist” sermon it was. The people did not know, I got this wonderful “Adventist” sermon from a black Methodist woman! (I add the exclamation mark, not because it surprised me that God used a black Methodist woman, but it will surprise some who are prejudiced by either three adjectives.)

I sat there in that Methodist church Sunday, feasting on every word she spoke, not concerning myself with whether or not she was black or white, male or female, Adventist or Methodist, but like the Bearans I just checked if what she was saying was Biblical- and it was!

Only listening to certain people with “approved labels” is not wise. It is prejudiced. Wisdom is listening to what is being said instead of who is saying it.

Study the Sabbath School lesson guide on the book of Proverbs here.

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; Its Your Own Choice

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. Proverbs 8:36 

Speaking of the destruction of the wicked, it is said,

This is not an act of arbitrary power on the part of God. The rejecters of His mercy reap that which they have sown. God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is “alienated from the life of God.” Christ says, “All they that hate Me love death.” Ephesians 4:18; Proverbs 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them.
At the beginning of the great controversy, the angels did not understand this. Had Satan and his host then been left to reap the full result of their sin, they would have perished; but it would not have been apparent to heavenly beings that this was the inevitable result of sin. A doubt of God’s goodness would have remained in their minds as evil seed, to produce its deadly fruit of sin and woe.
But not so when the great controversy shall be ended. Then, the plan of redemption having been completed, the character of God is revealed to all created intelligences. The precepts of His law are seen to be perfect and immutable. Then sin has made manifest its nature, Satan his character. Then the extermination of sin will vindicate God’s love and establish His honor before a universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law.
Well, then, might the angels rejoice as they looked upon the Saviour’s cross; for though they did not then understand all, they knew that the destruction of sin and Satan was forever made certain, that the redemption of man was assured, and that the universe was made eternally secure. Christ Himself fully comprehended the results of the sacrifice made upon Calvary. To all these He looked forward when upon the cross He cried out, “It is finished.” –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 764 

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; God’s Word Proves True Every Time

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Every word of God proves true…Proverbs 30:5 NLT

God’s Word said “if you eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you will die.” The serpent said, “No way! Look. I ate and not only did I not die but I can even talk now.”  Eve believed in what she heard and saw from the serpent instead of believing God’s Word. Turns out God’s Word was true. She died.

God told us through the prophet Daniel that Europe would never be reunited into a one world empire after Rome fell. In World War 2 Arthur Maxwell’s superiors were so afraid Hitler would take over Europe that they asked him not to publish his article claiming, according to Daniel 2, that there was no way Hitler could win and take over Europe. Maxwell published his article anyways. Good thing he did, because it turned out God’s Word was true. Hitler lost. Europe has never been reunited into a one world empire.

In the wilderness Satan wanted to tempt Jesus and make Him doubt He was the Son of God. After all He probably did not look the best after 40 days of fasting. Jesus said He did not need any signs, like turning stones to bread to prove He was God’s Son. He had already heard God call Him Son at His baptism. Jesus put His faith in God’s Word instead of appearances. Turns out God’s Word is true. Even the centurion knew Jesus was God’s Son.

A boy told a story about dying and going to heaven. The Bible says when you die you remain in your grave, unconscious until Jesus comes and resurrects us. Like Eve, many people put their faith in what they saw and heard instead of God’s Word. The boy later recanted his story. Turns out the Bible is true. Those who die sleep until Jesus comes. 

The moral of my story is, whenever appearances, sight, sound and feeling all contradict God’s Word, God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures will prove true every time. Trust God. Trust His Word above anything you see, feel, or hear.

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; Emotional Healing

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble. For the Lord will be displeased with you  and will turn his anger away from them. Proverbs 24:17-18 NLT

In the sports world we celebrate when our team eliminates another team in the playoffs and we see them fall. In the corporate world people celebrate when another company closes doors enabling their company to create a monopoly on the market. Love triangles have created even more sinister  behavior, even bloodshed, when someone comes between them and the one they have a crush on. Its almost as if people think their healing has to come from  someone else’s downfall.

Christian’s don’t celebrate the downfall of their enemy. Christians do not derive any “healing” from the disaster of their enemies. Christians find their healing in Jesus.

He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:5 NLT

Jesus did not only suffer the punishment we deserve. He also suffered the punishment our enemy deserves. We are not healed by our enemy being beaten and whipped. We are healed by Jesus being beaten and whipped.

Studies have shown that many people return from war with PTSD and emotional scars from the pain and violence they inflicted on others. Hurting your enemy will not bring you healing. It will bring you trauma. Instead of healing, the act or revenge is trauma to your own soul.

Jesus was beaten and whipped for your enemy. Is that not enough? it is insane to believe that seeing our enemy fall, could bring us any healing or make us whole.

Jesus went to the cross to heal us and make us whole. Look to Jesus and not your enemy for healing.

He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:5 NLT

Thinking we need to see our enemy suffer in order to be healed and made whole, is saying Jesus did not suffer enough on the cross to heal and make me whole.

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; Purpose For Living

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

When I was a little kid I had the most strangest and wildest imagination. I would lie awake at night wondering how I got to be me. Why was I not a dinner table chair instead? (Which only freaked me out even more thinking about the possibility of being something that doesn’t even know it exists. How do you exist without knowing you exist? Freaky!) Why was I not a bear in Alaska? How did I get to be born in my little home town in the United States instead of to a family in  Australia? Its not that I wanted to be something else, it just freaked me out wondering, how I got to be me, and why am I me here, and now?  I get the whole genes and chromosomes thing now, but those do not make a soul.

As I got older I realized just how close I came to never being born. My mother only wanted two children, a boy and a girl. Before I was born, my mother had a girl and sadly, two miscarriages. If one of those had survived they would not have had me. Then you also have the extreme small chance that I would even be the sperm that survives. So why am I me? Why was I born a little baby brother in my small speck of the planet around the mid to late 20th century? I found the answer this week in Proverbs.

A friend is always loyal,and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 NLT

Ah! So simple. I was born me to my family in my time and place, so I could help my family in time of need and be a loyal friend to others. Who knew?

Actually it’s a lot like why Jesus was born.

 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 NLT

So now as an old grown up I lie in bed awake thinking about how I got to be me. Out of all the things I could have been (if anything at all) and all the times and places I could have been born, I was born to my family and community here and now. God placed me here by some miraculous design that even genes and chromosomes can’t fully explain.

And yet, if I fail to help my family and friends in their time of need, then this great miracle of my existence is all about nothing!

Proverbs in Light of the Cross; Kind Words, we all Need Them

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24 NLT 

Yesterday, when I showed up at Tampa Adventist Academy to teach my baptism class, a teacher, beaming with pride, showed me an e-mail one of her former students had just sent her the night before. In  the e-mail, the student was telling her former teacher about her new school and scholastic programs. The student was doing well at her new school. The student then thanked the teacher at Tampa Adventist Academy for “never giving up one me” and “always pushing me to do my best.” This made the teacher’s day! Kind encouraging words are honey to the soul. Is there a teacher you need to write a nice thank you letter to?

Earlier this school year, I was on the playground following up with one of the teachers about one of her students who wanted to attend my baptism class. While the teacher and I were talking, on the far side of the playground I saw a glimpse of a little girl running with a football, being chased by by some boys. I yelled her name and shouted, “Run! Run!”

The next morning the little girl’s mother came up to me, and told me, “My daughter told me yesterday, “Mama I was playing football with the boys and they were about to catch me, when I heard pastor William yell my name. That gave me a burst of energy and I made the touchdown!”

Who knew what a kind encouraging word could do? Is there a child you need to speak a kind encouraging word to today?

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; Teaching the Wise

Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. Proverbs 9:9 NLT
As we cherish and obey the promptings of the Spirit, our hearts are enlarged to receive more and more of His power, and to do more and better work. Dormant energies are aroused, and palsied faculties receive new life.
The humble worker who obediently responds to the call of God may be sure of receiving divine assistance. To accept so great and holy a responsibility is itself elevating to the character. It calls into action the highest mental and spiritual powers, and strengthens and purifies the mind and heart. Through faith in the power of God, it is wonderful how strong a weak man may become, how decided his efforts, how prolific of great results.
He who begins with a little knowledge, in a humble way, and tells what he knows, while seeking diligently for further knowledge, will find the whole heavenly treasure awaiting his demand. The more he seeks to impart light, the more light he will receive. The more one tries to explain the Word of God to others, with a love for souls, the plainer it becomes to himself. The more we use our knowledge and exercise our powers, the more knowledge and power we shall have.
Every effort made for Christ will react in blessing upon ourselves. If we use our means for His glory, He will give us more. As we seek to win others to Christ, bearing the burden of souls in our prayers, our own hearts will throb with the quickening influence of God’s grace; our own affections will glow with more divine fervor; our whole Christian life will be more of a reality, more earnest, more prayerful.
The value of man is estimated in heaven according to the capacity of the heart to know God. This knowledge is the spring from which flows all power. God created man that every faculty might be the faculty of the divine mind; and He is ever seeking to bring the human mind into association with the divine. He offers us the privilege of cooperation with Christ in revealing His grace to the world, that we may receive increased knowledge of heavenly things.
Looking unto Jesus we obtain brighter and more distinct views of God, and by beholding we become changed. Goodness, love for our fellow men, becomes our natural instinct. We develop a character which is the counterpart of the divine character. Growing into His likeness, we enlarge our capacity for knowing God. More and more we enter into fellowship with the heavenly world, and we have continually increasing power to receive the riches of the knowledge and wisdom of eternity. —Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 354-355.