Scripture Read: Proverbs 16 - 18
Title: Man's Plans vs God's Plans
(H) Highlight verse: "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16: 1- 3
(E) Explain: It is very important to seek God’s will and allow His will to overshadow our will. We often make plans and sometimes God interrupts those plans, this is often true for so many of us as we are determined to do what we want and end up not being sensitive to hearing God's plan. We plan. We set goals. We create and cast vision and mission statements, but sometimes we fail to seek God’s will over our desires. Sometimes our will and God’s will do not line up. Sometumes our desires and plans are not bad, sinful or selfish, but they are not what God has willed at this specific moment. This can be frustrating on a personal level because we put a lot of time, effort and resources into our plans just to see the door closed on us. We think we have wasted all of our time, effort and resources when in reality the closed door is pointing us in the God’s direction. Pastor James Montgomery Boice writes, “We need to understand that ‘closed doors’ though they are a type of negative guidance, are nevertheless true guidance.”
(A) Application: :
It is important to be sensitive to the Spirit of God and flexible to change when God is the one who initiates the change. So, how do we know we are in God’s will? How is it that we can make sure we are doing the right thing He has called us to do? Here are a few suggestions to help you determine…
(R) Respond: LORD, may I be sensitive to your will and calling in my life. I want your plans, desires and purposes to be my plans, desires and purposes.
 Boice, James Montgomery: Acts, Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1997 p. 274
Scripture Read: Proverbs 3; 4
Title: Trust In the LORD
(H) Highlight verse: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and He will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3: 5 & 6
(E) Explain: Trust is defined as the assured reliance (confidence) on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Trusting God is something that should come naturally and yet it seems to be one of the hardest things we face as people of God. Author, radio host, and founder of Joni and Friends, an organization accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community, Joni Eareckson Tada writes, “Real satisfaction comes not in understanding God's motives, but in understanding His character, in trusting in His promises, and in leaning on Him and resting in Him as the Sovereign who knows what He is doing and does all things well.”We often do not know why certain things happen, but we should trust that God has our best interests in mind and he is worthy of our trust.
(A) Application: :
Three Hindrances to Trusting God
(R) Respond: LORD, help me to trust you with all my heart and not lean on my understanding. May I acknowledge you in every way, trusting that you will make my paths straight.
 Eareckson, Joni Tada (1987) Is God Really in Control p. 9 Joni & Friends.
Scripture Read: Proverbs 1; 2
Title: The Importance of Wisdom
(H) Highlight verse: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" Proverbs 1:7
(E) Explain: The author of most of Proverbs is widely believed to have been King Solomon. According to the Jewish Study Bible, "Proverbs guides individuals (not nations) in how to do what is wise in their day to day lives. It teaches the attitudes and chourse of actions that are right, just, and pious, and the ways of behavior that facilitate and strengthen personal relationships, the forms of communication and commerce that make the life of the community gongenial and secure, and the types of prudence and industry that help one achieve financial security."
Wisdom is the subject of today's passages. The proverb of Solomon is written as instruction of a father to a son. Wisdom is also portrayed as a woman as it is often referred as she or her (1:20, 21). Solomon says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." I think the simplest definition of wisdom could be in stating what wisdom is not… It is not just knowledge or intellect, it means the ability to understand and as a result act wisely. It is a way of taking knowledge and understanding it and applying it to everyday life to make the right moral decisions.
When we "fear God" we are effectively keeping ourselves from evil that is done both in secret and in the open, and keeping to the commands of God. The beginning of wisdom and knowledge begins when we openly heed and obey the commands of God. We will not walk in the way of the sinner who entices, we will not despise knowledge, and we will not hate discipline.
(A) Application: : I likt the New Testeament description of wisdom found in the book of James. James describes what wisdom as one who is...
Scripture Read: 1 Kings 8; 9:1-9
Title: The Dedication of the Temple
(H) Highlight verse: "But will God indeed dwell on earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house I have built!" 1 Kings 8:27
(E) Explain: God gives Solomon wisdom and in doing so he is blessed beyond all kings before or after him. With his wisdom and wealth comes the ability and the calling to finally build the Temple of God that his father envisioned. In his fourth year as king, Solomon begins building the house of the Lord. David has the initial idea to build a temple or a house for God and as delighted as the Lord was He forbids David to build it because he was a man of war. God told David to collect all the materials and to cast a vision for building a temple and then God would commission Solomon to implement his father’s vision. David was the visioneer and Solomon made it a reality. When the temple was complete Solomon brought in the things that his father had dedicated and he also stored the silver, gold, and all the vessels in the treasuries of God. He then assembles the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the father’s houses of the people of Israel to bring in the Ark of the Covenant.
Solomon then blesses the house of the Lord and then prays a prayer of dedication of the Temple and offered a sacrifice to the Lord... 22,000 Oxen and 120,000 sheep and held a seven day feast for all of Israel. He held nothing back for his God and for His people.
(A) Application: We must always be aware of what God is doing in our midst and we should be aware of what he is asking or directing us to do. Being a Christian is not intended to be something you do, it’s something you are. And as we have read in today's passage (and so many others)that our call from God is a call to obedience to Him and His Word. We must be obedient to Him, seek his counsel and determine what he is up to so we may be available for Him to use us for His glory. We can and should dream about what God can and will do through us, however our job is not just to dream about what God can do, we need to find out what He is doing and then get on board with him so the dream can become a reality by the power of His Spirit.
(R) Respond: Solomon was a man whose dream or a vision became a reality because of God faithfully fulfilled His promise to him. God has placed God-honoring dreams in my life and pray that those dreams would be fulfilled through the power of God and with His Spirit.
Scripture Read: 1 Kings 3; 6
Title: Solomon Asks For Wisdom
(H) Highlight verse: "Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern your great people?" 1 Kings 3:9
(E) Explain: In 1 King’s 3:3 we are told, “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father…” This is a great way to start of your reign as a king. One night in Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked Solomon, “Ask what I shall give to you?” Pretend for a moment that God comes to you one night and asks you for anything you want. What would your response be? Solomon responds, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” Solomon asks for wisdom to rule over the nation of Israel and God gives him what he asks for and also He says that He will give him not only wisdom but He will also “both riches and honor, so no other king shall compare with you, all your days.”
God kept his word and gave to Solomon all he promised. In 2 Chronicles 9 we read that Solomon’s wealth and wisdom were so well known that many nations heard of his fame. The Queen of Sheba (modern day Yemen) came to visit and test Solomon to see if he was the real deal. Solomon answers all her questions, sees his home, his table with food, his officials, his servants, his clothes, and his burnt offerings and she was speechless (2 Chron. 9:4). She was so impressed that she gave him gold, spices and precious stones. In return Solomon gave her anything she asked for. Solomon had it all.
(A) Application: What would you ask for if God came to you and told you that He would give you anything you ask? This would be a difficult for me to answer... because my inner righteousness wants to say, “Lord I want whatever you will give to me that will benefit your Kingdom.” However, my inner sinner says, “Lord, give me stuff! Give me money! Give me LOTS of money! Give me power and influence! I promise I will be good with it.” Thankfully God has never come to me and we have never had this discussion.
After reading this passage today I came to this conclusion... We are to seek the wisdom of God in all decisions in life. We can't be afraid to ask God for big things for his glory. Whether you are an employer, employee, student, stay home mom or dad, retiree, widow or widower seek God first in all matters of your life. So many of us feel unqualified for life or the duties that are placed before us, seek God and his counsel. Ask him to give you the wisdom to live your life so you may bring him honor and glory to Him.
(R) Respond: LORD, give me wisdom daily to lead my family, your people and my own personal life for your glory and honor.
Scripture Read: 1 Kings 2
Title: Solomon Becomes King
(H) Highlight verse: "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the LAw of Moses, that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you turn..." 1 Kings 2:2,3
(E) Explain: Shortly after David and Bathsheba lost their first son due to David’s sin, Solomon was born to the couple. By rights Solomon was the second heir to the throne of David, right behind Adonijah. Unbeknownst to Adonijah he did not realize that David promised Bathsheba that Solomon would be heir to the throne. When David was on his deathbed Adonijah proclaimed himself as heir to the King, yet Bathsheba and Nathan informed him that he was not king. Adonijah went away without an issue and thus Solomon became king. There is a lot involved in this story as you have read which ends with the death of Adonijah and others.
Solomon was the third king of Israel and he succeeded his father David. He began his reign as king on the right foot as he walked with God and sought him in all he did. Unfortunately, unlike his father, he did not walk with God through the course of his life. What Solomon is most famous for was his wealth, wisdom, and women aplenty.
(A) Application: The beginning of Solomon's reign started with much bloodshed. I am not going to focus on all the killing today, but will focus more on the parting words of Solomon's father David. When David was about to die he gave Solomon wisdom on how he can be a successful king. If you recall both Saul and David had some major problems in their ruling and both of their problems stemmed from disobedience to God. David implores his son to keep the commands and statutes of God, in doing so he will be given success as a king.
This applies to us today. Obedience to the LORD and allowing him to be center of our lives is what gives us success today. I know that there are millions of books, seminars and teachings on how to be successful in life, but we are only guaranteed success in life if we remain faithful and obedient to God and his Word. Let us keep this in mind this very day, God wants to bless his people, and He will bless us when we live in obedience and faithfulness to Him May we all commit to successful living before the LORD as we live in obedience and to Him and His Word?
(R) Respond: What steps can you and I take today to ensure that we live successful lives before the LORD? What areas of life do you need to be more obedient to the LORD?
Scripture Read: Psalm 148; 149; 150
Title: Sing Praise to the LORD
(H) Highlight verse: "Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the gody! For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation" Psalm 149:1, 4
(E) Explain: “Sing to the Lord a new song”… The Psalmist invites the people of God to sing, but we are not only called to sing but are called to sing a new song. This does not necessarily imply that the song needs to be a fresh composition (so there is no need to write a new song every week); but it means that we are to sing a song in response to an experience of God’s grace. We are to sing with a new heart.
The word "praise" is used multiple times in the three Psalm passages and the Hebrew root word is "halal" which means to boast, celebrate, and be foolish. When we see the word in this context we can fully understand that praising God is synonymous to boasting about and celebrating God.
(A) Application: If you step back for a moment and look at how these Psalms can apply to you today you can ask these three questions.
(R) Respond: God I will praise you in the morning, afternoon, and in the evening because you are worthy of all praise. I will sing a new song unto you LORD because you are a great and mighty God who takes pleasure in his people.
Scripture Read: Psalm 119: 129 -176; 139
Title: You Are a Unique Creation of God
(H) Highlight verse: "I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14
(E) Explain: This is a beautiful portion of scripture as the Psalmist declares that you are are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were formed and knitted together in your mother's womb. While in the womb God had written your days. This Psalm essentially tells us that before you were born, God had a purpose for your life. He skillfully crafted you and your days were fashioned by Him. Let this truth sink in, God created you with purpose! You have meaning in this world; nobody is an accident regardless of what your parents may have said or how you may feel. God created you, He took time and great care in creating you.
(A) Application: We are fearfull and wonderfully made. We are crafted in his image and yet we are all unique in so many ways. God has gifted and given all of us various gifts, strengths and talents that we can use for his glory. I believe when we are serving in the area where God has gifted us, is when we are fulfilling the unique purpose God has placed on our lives.
(R) Respond: God you have created me for a purpose. May that purpose be revealed to me so I may live with purpose and bring glory to your name.
Scripture Read: Psalm 119: 40 - 128
Title: God's Word and God's Promise
(H) Highlight verse: "This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life." Psalm 119:50
(E) Explain: The sacred writings of the Bible are divinely inspired and the Word of God makes one wise to salvation – Scripture as a whole reveals Jesus and teaches us about him.
All Scripture is breathed out by God – All Sacred writings are inspired and ordained by God’s authority over all other secular writings. The Bible, the Word of God, was given by the Spirit of God to men throughout history and it is without error. It is trustworthy, dependable and divine.
John Calvin writes, “This (authority of Scripture) is a principle which distinguishes our religion (Christianity) from all others, that we know that God (has) spoken to us, and are fully convinced that the prophets did not speak at their own suggestion, but that, being organs of the Holy Spirit, they only uttered what they have been commissioned from heaven to declare. Whoever then wishes to profit in the Scriptures, let him first of all, lay down this as a settled point, that the Law and the Prophets are not a doctrine delivered according to the will and pleasure of men, but dictated by the Holy Spirit.” Calvin tells us that as believer’s we need to establish the fact that Scripture is God’s Word and not mans. It is in fact divine and commissioned by God.
The Apostle Peter confirms this in 2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 2:13 – “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
The Word of God is powerful, it is living, it is active, and it is transformational. Everything about the Word of God points us to Jesus and Jesus is the fulfillment of the Word of God (I John 1:1).
(A) Application: This portion of the Psalm deals directly with the commands, the Law or the Word of God and how the Psalmist is dependant on it, loves it and keeps it. So how does this apply for us today? Here are some thoughts...
God's Word is Profitable for…
(R) Respond: I will cling to the Word of God; I want to know it and love it, because in it is power, salvation and truth.
Scripture Read: Psalms 103; 119:1 - 48
Title: God is a Merciful God
(H) Highlight verse: "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." Psalm 103:8
(E) Explain: The Psalms for today's reading focus on the goodness of God and focuses on many of his attributes. We serve a God who is righteous and seeks justice for the oppressed. He is merciful, which means he is forgiving. Lord only knows how grateful I am for His endless mercy. He is gracious. God is a giving God and He lavishes amazing gifts upon us day after day. He is slow to anger, which means He is patient. He is abounding in steadfast love, which means he is a God who loves His children regardless of how often we mess up.
(A) Application: The one attribute stands out in Psalm 103 is God's mercy. Mercy is defined as kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly. The definition I remember best is when we don't get what we deserve. There are multiple times in the New and Old Testament where we see God’s mercy in action. Time and time again God declares his judgment on a nation, city, or individual and when a righteous individual makes a plea for God’s mercy He always complies. When mercy is shown it usually does not change God’s act of judgment. He often shows mercy in judgment. For example God will always spare the righteous from HIS judgment and continue judgment against the wicked. Judgment may not always be immediate but it will happen in God’s perfect timing. We see this displayed in the book of Revelation where the letter’s focus is on God’s judgment against the wicked and in the ushering in of his Kingdom
(R) Respond: We are blessed to be called children of God, because our Father is a great, mighty and merciful God.
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