9 Weeks – 8/11/2014 – 10/10/2014
Overview – Only nine messages long, this series deals with the practical side of life as dealt with in the book of Proverbs. We chose the passages that speak to being a person of credibility in 2014. Credibility has to do with the capacity to be believed as genuine. Does that describe you and me?
We looked first at the issue of possessing wisdom; seeing life from God’s point of view. We then looked at love and faithfulness, two of the most important words in your life. (They really are the two most important words of your marriage!)
We then considered what we called the “blueprint for your life”, that began with guarding your heart. Our hearts are the wellspring of life; everything else flows from that spring. We moved on to discussing the seven things God hates from Proverbs 6. Many are surprised by the list and some don’t even know this is in scripture!
Adultery was discussed from Proverbs 5, 6, and 7. We worked from an outline that states that adultery is “disappointing, destructive, and deadly”. Next we talked about “integrity” from chapters 10, 11, 13, and 20. Integrity has to do with wholeness and completeness as a person.
The seventh message dealt with the subject of the “tongue” from selected passages from the book of Proverbs. The strongest being 18:21 that says, “The tongue has the power of life and death!” From there we went on to look at what’s called, “The better passages” in selected verses. This message speaks to marriage, family, and social life!
The last message was about friendship from Proverbs 27. We looked at five principles taught in this chapter to speak of a very sensitive area of your life. God has ordained friendship, whether you know that or not!
How’s your credibility in these areas of life? How believable are we?
Week 9 -10/06/2014
Overview: When’s the last time you heard a lesson or message on “friendship”? My guess is that you haven’t heard many at all. And yet there is a chapter of the book of Proverbs that gives some definitive thoughts on the subject. There is a spiritual dimension to friendship that even most Christian people don’t acknowledge. We’ll talk about that all this week on CrossHope as we look at Proverbs 27.
Monday – Part One – What if you discovered that God has ordained friendship in a similar way to ordaining marriage in people’s lives? The Proverb writer sure indicates that when you read the five statements about friendship in Proverbs 27. Hopefully, there are friendships in your life that still bless you to this day. Conversely, does your friendship to others bless their lives to this day?
Tuesday – Part Two – People today will often refer to someone as their “card buddy” or “golf buddy” or even “drinking buddy”. Is there anyone in your life who would say that their live is enriched because of your friendship? Are their people who enrich your life with their friendship to you”? That perhaps is the criteria of a godly friendship. Are people impacted spiritually through our friendship?
Wednesday – Part three – Proverbs 27:9 speaks of the blessing of a friend’s counsel to us. True friendship involves “mutual counseling”. The greatest biblical definition of counseling is in First Samuel 16:23 that says, “Jonathan helped David to find his strength in the Lord.” We share a great story today of one Christian helping another Christian to find their strength in the Lord.
Thursday – Part Four – Verse 17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man or woman sharpens another”. There’s no such thing in a godly friendship of one person always being the blessing and the other always being the recipient. That is actually a mark of an unhealthy relationship. There is a mutuality of blessing in a godly friendship. We come along side another person and bless each other.
Friday – Part Five – We close with a touching true story about the friendship of a man and his dog at the end of World War two. The man who recounts this story uses it to illustrate the friendship that we actually have with the Lord. The Bible speaks of the “friend who sticks closer than a brother”. (Proverbs 18:24) That friend is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God! Don’t ever forget that!
Week 8 – 09/29/2014
Better Than What?
Overview: Some people think of the book of Proverbs as a “second class” book of the Bible, meaning it’s not as significant as Romans or one of the prophets like Jeremiah. And yet, as I understand it, Jesus quoted more from the book of Proverbs than any other Old Testament book, other than the book of Isaiah. If it mattered to Him, it should matter to you and me! This week we study some of the “better than” passages. We’ll explain on Monday what that means.
Monday – Part One – Today we look at five verses from Proverbs that I’ve never heard any speaker preach from, other than to reference or simply quote them in passing. They’re verses that say, “It’s better to do this than to do that, or it’s better to be this than to be that.” It’s about comparative difference. We do that all the time in life, at work, or in the family. There are choices that we make that are better than others. The Lord agrees!
Tuesday – Part Two – We look at the first “better than” passage that says, “Better a little with the fear of the Lord, than great wealth with turmoil.” That contradicts the prevailing thinking of our culture, but it’s true! The next verse says, “Better a meal of just vegetables where there is love, that a fattened calf with hatred! The reason that resonates with people is this: it connects with where people are in their lives today in 2014.
Wednesday – Part three – Many families dread the holidays because of underlying tension and strife within that family. The holidays sometimes trigger the release of anger and frustration. Maybe that’s why the Proverb writer says, “Better a dry crust of bread with peace and quiet, than a house full of feasting with strife!” Does that connect with you and your situation?
Thursday – Part Four – One of the “better than” statements in Proverbs has been used by husbands as a slam against a wife. It wasn’t intended for that purpose. It says, “Better to live on the corner of a roof, than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” It works both ways with husbands and wives. The Message translation puts it this way, “It’s better to live alone in a tumble down shack, than to share a mansion with a nagging spouse!” It applies to all of us who live in households of any size.
Friday – Part Five – You and I will receive all kinds of advice and counsel from the world system apart from Christ. Some people pay large amounts of money for a personal life coach. And yet, the Lord counsels us through His word, His wisdom that is in the book of Proverbs. Are you and I listening? The Proverbs mattered to Jesus; they should matter to us.
Week 7 – 09/22/2014
Overview: The most underrated part of the body according to scripture is the tongue. Most people don’t think about their words, both good and bad. After all, they’re just words, right? Not according to the word of God. This week we study chapters 15, 16, and 18 in Proverbs that have to do with the way we speak. Words have power in your life and mine.
Monday – Part One – We begin with a great story about a woman’s harsh words in her emails being rewritten by her son, to soften her words. Have you ever wished that someone had “rewritten” your words to a spouse, a child, or a family member? We all have regrets about things that we have said, and we have been negatively impacted by the words of others to us.
Tuesday – Part Two – We read all three texts of what Proverbs says that our words have the power to pierce someone’s heart or spirit! The tongue can bring healing and life; it also can bring destruction and death. People are fascinated with the subject of body language. Our most important language of the body is obviously spoken. We communicate love; we communicate hatred with our words.
Wednesday – Part Three – We talk about the word “fool” in Proverbs. The word isn’t referring to someone with a low IQ. It’s referring to someone with a character flaw or moral deficiency. Words have the power to crush the spirit. Today we talk about what that means. Your spirit has been crushed by those close to you!
Thursday – Part Four – Proverbs says our speech can be like a scorching fire. That’s quite a dramatic word picture. We can all picture the scenes on television of fires in California and the southwest. Yet, that’s the analogy the Proverb writer uses to describe how we destroy with our words. What does that say to you about what you’ve said this week?
Friday – Part Five – The most powerful statement in Proverbs about our words is in Proverbs 18:21. It says, “The tongue has the power of life and death!” If that statement is true, our words do matter to the Lord, even if they don’t to us. The most important words that you and I will ever utter are from the book of Romans 10, “For it is with our mouth that we confess (Christ) and are saved!” Nothing you ever say is more important than those words. Have you said them?
Week 6 – 09/15-19/2014
Person of Integrity?
Overview: Integrity has become a forgotten word in our culture today. And yet, the book of Proverbs has much to say about personal integrity or honesty. All this week, we discuss how that integrity is more than a slogan; it’s an attitude of a person’s life and work. It actually reflects who and what we are as people. It demonstrates and manifests the relationship we have with the Living God!
Monday – Part One – The word integrity comes the mathematical term “integer”. Integer has to do with “whole numbers”. Integrity has to with wholeness more than any other thing. Engineers speak of the structural integrity of a building or an aircraft. Arborists will speak of a tree possessing integrity, meaning wood that is not diseased or damaged. A man or woman of integrity is whole in terms of character and morality.
Tuesday – Part Two – We share a humorous story of a man who demonstrated integrity in one area of his life, but not in another. Sometimes we can be selective in our honesty or integrity. To be whole as a man or woman, we need to manifest integrity in all areas of our lives, not just in some. Proverbs 10:9 says that a person of integrity walks securely or confidently.
Wednesday – Part Three – Have you ever been asked to lie on behalf of someone else? We all have at one time or another. It may have happened recently. We share a story of something that happened to Stuart Briscoe when he was employed at a bank and asked to lie for his boss. It created a dilemma for a person of integrity.
Thursday – Part Four – We share how integrity is demonstrated in the “little things” of life. So is a lack of integrity. Sometimes we dismiss the small lies, deceptions, and misdeeds by saying that they really don’t matter. Or do they? We’ll talk about that specifically in today’s program.
Friday – Part Five – Personal integrity can sometimes be costly. We’ll talk about a dramatic story of a man’s honesty and integrity “costing” him a championship. What are you willing to do to maintain your integrity? What are you not willing to do to maintain your integrity? When we come to the end of our lives, people remember that we either were or were not people of integrity.
Week 5 – 09/08/2014
Disappointing, Destructive, and Deadly
This week a sensitive area out of the book of Proverbs: adultery or marital unfaithfulness. There is only one place in the Bible where there are three chapters in a row deal that with the same subject. Proverbs 5, 6, and 7 basically deal with the issue of marital fidelity. It must be important to the Lord. It’s not an easy topic to discuss, yet to ignore it for that reason would be not only wrong, but foolish.
Monday – Part One – We begin with talking about marriage being a “covenant relationship” as opposed to a “contractual relationship”. A covenant is an agreement witnessed by God Himself! That’s why marriage may not be important to people today, but it has been and still is important to the Lord. We then talk about home invasion of a more sinister type: sexual impurity.
Tuesday – Part Two – We read chapter 6 beginning with verse 2. It’s written to a male audience for the simple reason it was a male dominated culture. Yet, it applies to both men and women equally. The passage talks about the destructive nature of adultery in the life of a man or woman. There are predictable results and fallout to this sin, yet most people live as if there were no consequences to what we do.
Wednesday – Part Three – “When you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.” That’s a modern day proverb of what Proverbs 6:27-28 that says “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can he walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” There is damage that is done in our lives and in our families as a result of moral choices that we make.
Thursday – Part Four – We continue the story of King David in the Old Testament committing not only adultery but murder as well. Author Stormie Omartian comments how this all started with a “thought”, just like it does in 2014. Thoughts lead to action! We talk about people needing to “fantasize” about the look on family member’s faces when they find out about our moral failures in this area. It could be very sobering to do that.
Friday – Part Five – We talk about people who “slip back into the darkness” of life after coming to Christ. The Bible says that we have been “called out of darkness, into the Kingdom of light.” That’s true in every area of our lives, including the area of moral purity in marriage. Sin equals darkness, whether we know it or not. Coming to Christ equals coming into Light!
Week 4 – 09/01/2014
Seven Hated Things
Overview: The thought of God “hating” anything is repugnant to most people, yet the book of Proverbs says that God hates seven things. It’s probably a good thing for us to know what those seven things are! In the sixth chapter, verses 16-19, the writer lists what they are. We’ve distilled the list down to five, since two of them are similar to two others mentioned in the list. What is convicting about the list is that we see ourselves, if we are honest!
Monday – Part One – The number one thing that is identified as something that the Lord hates is this: “haughty eyes”. It means eyes that are lifted up in order to look down on someone. That is a word picture that you and I can certainly understand. It’s no accident that pride is mentioned first. We talk about that after reading the entire list.
Tuesday – Part Two – We begin each day intentionally reading the entire list from Proverbs so we have a sense of the whole. Specifically we look at the two that have to do with lying; “a lying tongue” and a “false witness who pours out lies.” We explain why God is offended by lying. The reason may surprise you. We then read and briefly discuss the third which has to with murder: “hands that shed innocent blood.”
Wednesday – Part Three – We continue with the third thing that God despises, hands that shed innocent blood. We share a scripture that describes how the taking of innocent life actually pollutes the land where that taking of life has taken place. A community or even a country is “polluted” by the taking of innocent life.
Thursday – Part Four – On day four, we combine two more things God hates: “a heart that devises wicked schemes, and feet that are quick to rush into evil.” Everyone has a creative capacity given by God. He doesn’t want to see us use that capability to deceive, cheat, seduce, or defraud people. We then touch on the last one: “a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” We are called by God to be peacemakers, not strife makers!
Friday – Part Five – We close the message on the seven things God hates with a positive word. God is not only a God who forgives, but who delights in showing mercy. That means that forgiving and showing mercy is His nature! You need to know that, and so do I!
Week 3 – 08/25/2014
The Blueprint for Life
Overview: Essentially, nothing is built without a blueprint. The blueprint is what “drives” a building project, according to a top architect. Everything in the construction of a building flows out of those drawings and specifications. The book of Proverbs gives every person a “blueprint” for life. In chapter four, verses 20-27, the proverb writer gives four specifications for your life and mine, which if followed, will change everything we do!
Monday – Part One – This maybe the most important message in this series! The first specification in this blueprint says, “Above all else, guard your heart!” It’s the only time that this phrase (above all else) is used in scripture. That makes what follows pretty important! We talk about what it means to guard your heart, and why it matters to do so.
Tuesday – Part Two – Jesus says that everything in your life flows out of your heart. He lists in Mark 7 what it is that comes out of your heart and mine: evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. That covers it all, doesn’t it?
Wednesday – Part Three – The second “spec” for our lives is: “Watch how you talk!” How we talk reveals what kind of man or woman we are. We either speak words that build up and strengthen, or we speak words that destroy and tear down. The third “spec” has to do with what we do with with our eyes: “Watch what you look at!” We tend to look for that which we secretly or openly love or like.
Thursday – Part Four – We share a verse just for men in regard to our eyes from Job 31:1, “I made a covenant with my eyes, not to look lustfully upon a girl.” What would happen if every man actually followed that admonition? We quote a counselor who says that women need to watch what they look at as well, not just men! She said that women can be “lusting to be lusted after”.
Friday – Part Five – Guard your heart, watch how you talk, watch what you watch, and fourthly: “Watch where you go!” Parents need to tell their children, “Watch what doors you walk through in life”. Where we “go in life” impacts what we become in life. We close with a story that was difficult to tell, but yet illustrates this message from Proverbs 4:20-27.
Week 2 – 08/18/2014
Two Words for Life
Overview: Over 125 times, the word wisdom or wise is used in Proverbs. That must mean it is at the heart of this book. Proverbs 3 is the text for this week. It states that there are two words that are to be a part of our lives in such a way, that they are “written on the tablets” of our hearts. We don’t use language like that, but most people know what that means. What are the two words? Love and faithfulness.
Monday – Part One – We begin with the quoting a cartoon, depicting a car sitting precariously on the edge of a cliff. The embarrassed husband says to his perturbed wife, “There’s got to be lesson here somewhere.” One lesson is, if you want to avoid the cliff, you avoid the road to the cliff is possible. Wisdom is knowing what roads to “avoid” in life. We read the third chapter of Proverbs today, words that do exactly that!
Tuesday – Part Two – We briefly review last week’s lesson about the three ways one finds wisdom. First, we ask for it! (Most people rarely ask the Lord for it!) Secondly, we think of our limited time on earth. Thirdly, we come to Jesus who IS the wisdom of God according to the Apostle Paul. There is a difference between wisdom and intelligence. We explain the difference today.
Wednesday – Part Three – Today we talk about the admonition to “acknowledge the Lord in all your ways”. The word ways refers to the different areas or venues of our lives. What are they? Here’s a few: marriage, family, work, school, neighborhood, social activities to name a few. Do you acknowledge the Lord is all of those ways?
Thursday – Part Four – This passage says to honor the Lord with our wealth. Money Magazine says that most Americans are a greedy bunch! This probably makes honoring the Lord with our wealth a difficult endeavor. We then focus on the two things that are to never leave your life or mine: love and faithfulness. Those are two character qualities of the Lord, so they are to be qualities in your life and mine.
Friday – Part Five – Love and faithfulness are often measured in our lives by the little day to day activities of life that are taken for granted. It’s more important in life to be loving and faithful than it is to be famous, rich, or powerful! Most people we know would probably disagree, but the Lord wouldn’t. He said, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, and write them on the tablets of your heart!”
Week 1 – 08/11/2014
Why Wisdom Matters!
Overview: If you were to ask the average person what wisdom is, they might tell you it has to do with intelligence, knowledge, and education. Nothing could be further from the truth! Biblically, it means seeing life from God’s point of view. We begin a new series from the Old Testament book of Proverbs. The proverbs in the book are not quaint little sayings, or suggestions for living. They are statements that reflect the knowledge and the wisdom of God!
Monday – Part One – We look at Proverbs 2:1-15, where the Proverb writer tells us that the “Lord gives wisdom”. The Lord claims the legal rights to “wisdom” as if it were His. There’s a reason for that: all wisdom ultimately comes from Him! When you know the Giver of wisdom, something happens: you get it!
Tuesday – Part Two – We share the sad story of Paine Stewart, professional golfer who lost his life in the crash of a Lear Jet. Because of a catastrophic loss of air pressure in the plane, all lost consciousness on board leading to the death of everyone on board. The plane flew for hours on automatic pilot until it ran out of fuel. We make the application that our lives can be like that without the wisdom of God directing our steps.
Wednesday – Part Three – Wisdom protects people from the “wicked man” or the “seductive adulteress”. How? There is a moral protection and discernment that comes to the man or woman who has godly wisdom. We share John Piper’s thoughts on the three ways that you and I can get wisdom. They are profoundly simple, but profoundly powerful! We discuss the first two today and the third on Thursday.
Thursday – Part Four – Thinking about death can actually aide in my search for wisdom. Church bells rang for the purpose of reminding people of the passing of time in terms of being one hour closer to eternity! The apostle Paul described Christ as the “wisdom of God”. When Christ is in a man or woman’s life, wisdom resides as well!
Friday – Part Five – We close not just with a story, but a story about what happened when the story by Scottish minister, Alistair Begg was told in the early worship service of the day. It’s very powerful. It was a response that was unexpected by me. It just may speak to your life in an unexpected way as well.