Years ago I heard of a method of Bible Reading that I added to my daily devotions. That method was called “Proverb a Day”. There are 31 chapters of Proverbs in the Bible, and no more than 31 days every month. So every day I read one chapter of Proverbs corresponding to that day’s date.
For instance, on June 1 I read Proverb 1.
This morning – June 5 – I read Proverb 5.
Next Saturday – on June 11th – I will start my day with Proverb 11.
Though we’re not there yet, let’s look at next Saturday’s reading:
Proverbs 11:27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
I like that Proverb. In modern language what it’s saying is “You get what you look for”. If you diligently look for good you will find good and be blessed. But if you seek mischief – it will come to you. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:22 ..
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.HCS
If you’re focused on the GOOD you will find the GOOD and be blessed with the GOOD. But if your focus is on MISCHIEF (trouble making) you’ll find trouble. It will find you out!
Proverbs 11:28 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
There’s another good word from God. God doesn’t care if you have riches – but if you trust in your riches you shall fall. Joseph of Arimathaea was a rich man who loved and followed Jesus. He was willing to go to Pilate and get the body of Christ off of the Cross (see John 19:39-40) and helped prepare our Lord for burial. Joseph donated the Tomb that Christ was laid in. There is nothing wrong with riches as long as you do not love them. Jesus counseled the rich to ….
Luke 16:9 (NLT) Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.
Wealth and riches are fleeting – and will not bring the deep blessings that come from following Christ. The righteous shall flourish as a branch. Those who are followers of Christ will be blessed. The Psalmist said …
Psalm 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
There is strength and blessing in righteousness, and righteousness is available to all who trust in Christ.
Proverbs 11:29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
Those who bring trouble to their own house – whether family home, business, or Church – will inherit the wind. There is no benefit to the troublemaker. The fool – the godless person – shall be servant to the wise of heart. Those who chase after God’s Wisdom shall one day rule the world.
The fool (the godless) shall be servant to the WISE
This Proverb springboards into the next Proverb:
Proverbs 11:30 (KJV) The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
Those who are righteous produce a fruit. Adam and Eve were allowed to eat from the Tree of Life – but were forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam failed God and ate of the wrong tree the Lord cast him out of Eden saying:
Genesis 3:22-24 …. “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
The Tree of Life is the possession only of the Righteous. Those who hear God and obey have the right to eternal life.
Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
Heaven and Eternal Life only belong to those who love the Lord, who have called on the Name of Jesus believing and who are saved. The fruit of the righteous is A TREE OF LIFE. Not THE Tree of Life but A Tree of Life. The fruit of our lives, dear Christian, should lead others to the eternal life we possess. He that winneth souls is wise. It is God’s intent that we win others to Jesus, that we share Jesus with others.
He that winneth souls is wise. If you have been won to Christ by the witness of another, then you want to win others to Him. In order to win others you need to be able to explain the Gospel to others. So I want to share something with you. I have given you a sheet with three circles on it. As I discuss these three circles I want you to “fill in the blanks” so that you can do this with others.
1 God’s Design. The first circle I want to talk about is the upper left circle, “God’s Design”. In our world today the idea that “Man is an animal” and “We evolved from lower forms” is a popular thought. Yet it is not true.
Mankind as we stand now has Devolved, not Evolved. Humanity has Devolved from what it was intended to be by our loving God.
The Psalmist asked the question:
Psalms 8:4-6 (KJV) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
King David – once a Shepherd – asked God “Why do You even care about us? We are lower than the angels, those Heavenly Creatures that stand around Your Throne. Yet Angels have not been placed in dominion over the earth. Only mankind dominates this Good Earth You made.” The Bible answers David’s question this way …
Because You Are Made To Bear The Image Of God
The truth is that God made man in His own image, and after His own likeness (Genesis 1:27). God created Adam in His Image and in His Likeness.
Genesis 1:26 …Let us make man in our IMAGE, after our LIKENESS ..
Word Study The Hebrew word “Image” is צֶּלֶם tselem (pronounced tseh’-lem) “a resemblance of, a representative figure”. The word translated “Likeness” is the Hebrew דְּמוּת dmuwth (pronounced dem-ooth’) which means “a model or shape of”.
- Bible Scholar Wayne Grudem wrote that these words “refer to something that is similar but not identical to the thing that it represents or is the “image of” “.
- Theologian Anthony Hoekema wrote that the image of God “describes not just something that man has, but something man is.”
Man was made to be the Image Bearer of God. Jesus said in …
John 4:24 (NASB95) “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- God is Spiritual – we are Spiritual. We were designed by God to connect to the Spiritual Creator.
Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
2 Corinthians 13:14 (KJV)14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
- God is Triune – We Are Triune. The Bible says:
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (KJV) …. I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are of three parts. We are personal beings created by a personal God. God made us to be relational, and put in each of us a conscience which – if not hardened, draws us toward morality. God is creative – we are creative.
2 Sin And Brokenness. We were designed to be the image bearers of God. We walk with God and talk with God. This is how we are designed. Until sin entered in. When man chose sin rather than God he brought brokenness into the world. Anytime you see a broken person, a broken family, a broken community, a broken Church, a broken Country … brokenness is brought about by rejection of all or part of God’s design.
Illustration On December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japanese planes, killing more than 2400 people. The Flight Leader of this invasion was Captain Mitsuo Fuchida. After the bombing of our Naval Base Fuchida was hailed as a hero in Japan. But when the war ended with Japan defeated 4 years later Fuchida was angry, disillusioned, and broken. In 1950 he met a former American POW turned Missionary named Jacob DeShazer, and Jacob shared the Gospel of Christ with Mitsuo Fuchida. Mitsuo was not only saved – but later was called by our Lord to become an Evangelist. He wrote “Jesus is the only One Who was powerful enough to change my life”.
Illustration Nicolle Cliffe became an Atheist when she was in college. She thought her Christian friends were suffering a benign delusion that helped them deal with life – a supernatural crutch if you will. One day she was surfing the Internet and came across the obituary of Pastor and Author Dallas Willard. In his obituary was this quote:
“I believe that every human being is sufficiently depraved that when we get to Heaven,
no one will be able to say, ‘I merited this.’ ”
When she read these words she broke into tears. John Stonestreet of the Colson Center wrote:
“Later that day,” she writes, “I burst into tears again. And the next day. While brushing my teeth, while falling asleep, while in the shower, while feeding my kids, I would burst into tears.” Stunned by these sudden, uncontrollable emotions, Nicolle tried to get to the bottom of them. So she bought a book by Willard—and cried again. She read another one, by Lewis Smedes—and wept. Knowing that this couldn’t go on, Nicolle emailed a Christian friend to talk about Jesus, who of course said yes. …. in the hour before the two would talk, she knew that she believed in God, in fact—that she was a Christian. When the call came, Nicolle told her friend what had happened, the two laughed and prayed, and the atheist who was, was no more.
We are all broken without God. Sin breaks us, but brokenness becomes a blessing when it leads us to the foot of that Old Rugged Cross. When brokenness comes, rather than repent people will often adopt a “fix it yourself” mentality. Some theologians call this a “frantic search for happiness”. Solutions are sought through fleshly sins – sex, sensuality, alcohol, drugs.
Illustrate Brokenness is the place where we can meet with the lost and share the love of Christ. In the world we throw broken things away. Just the other day my Internet Router broken and I had to get a new one. The old one went into the garbage. I have thrown away broken stoves, broken tools, broken bulbs, broken furniture, broken cars. We throw away broken things. But God does not throw away broken people. It is through brokenness that God approaches the lost. He says in His Word:
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Brokenness is the opposite of arrogance and pride. Actor Lionel Barrymore once said …
“The greatest disappointment of my career on the stage in the theater is that I could never step beyond the footlights and sit in the audience watching me”. Brokenness comes when pride and arrogance are shattered. It is the broken ground that will take the seed and allow it to grow. The rocky soil – hard and proud – will not bear fruit. Brokenness is God’s blessing on the unrepentant life.
The vain and arrogant person wants to be the center of the universe and the center of the stage. If he goes to a christening, he wants to be the baby. If he goes to a wedding, he wants to be the bride. If he goes to a funeral, he wants to be the corpse. He wants center stage – and God cannot use nor help that person. Until Jacob is crippled he cannot be Israel. Until Peter is mocked by the crowing Rooster he cannot be the Chief Apostle. In order to be used of God a person must repent. That person must turn from self solutions to the Savior and Lord Jesus. God has said:
Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
God does not want to throw away the broken – He wants to restore them. Saul on the Damascus Road cried out to God “Who art Thou?” and “What do You want me to do?”. It is in brokenness that God does His work. When your unbelieving friend in the hospital asks “Why has the God you serve allowed this to happen to me?” tell that dear soul “It is to get your attention. You have run without God for many years. You are running broken. Now in the well of your despair LOOK UP – for there is the Lord Who loves you. Surrender to Him”.
I have long visited broken people at home, in hospitals, and in jails. If they will not hear of Jesus I ask if I can pray with them anyway before I go. In nearly every case that person allows me to pray for them – and in praying I always ask God’s Holy Spirit to touch their lives. I cannot make them repent and turn to Jesus … but their brokenness can.
When daddy came home at the end of his workday his two young boys ran to him. One wrapped his arms around his daddy’s leg. “I’ve got all of daddy” he cried out. The other little boy put out his arms, and his daddy bent down, wrapped his arms around him, and lifted him up above the floor. That little boy said “You may have all of daddy, but daddy has all of me!”by Harold Vaughan .
When God presents you with a broken person this is His way of helping you as believers do what you should do. Share Jesus with the broken. Share Jesus with the blind. If you have a friend crippled with sin, bring that person to Jesus. Quit worrying about being politically correct and personally offended and remember what God expects of you.
Proverbs 11:30 (KJV) The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
We know Christ and are to share Christ with others. He that winneth souls is wise.
3 We Who Believe Are Operating In Our Divine Design When We Tell The Broken To Come To Jesus. Those whom God has saved through Christ are drawn back to the Divine Design. God gives us of His Spirit, just as Jesus promised. The Holy Spirit guides us – through His Word and prayer – to be closer to God’s design every day.
“The fruit of the righteous is a Tree of life”.
The fruit of our lives is to offer life through Christ to others. We are not the Source of Life – but connected to the Source we share our faith with others.
A store manager hear his clerk tell a customer, “No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for a while, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon.” Horrified, the manager came running over to the customer and said, “Of course we’ll have some soon. We placed an order last week.” Then the manager drew the clerk aside. He snarled, “Never, never, never say we’re out of anything–say we’ve got it on order and it’s coming. Now, what was it she wanted?” The clerk replied “Rain” .
You cannot give what you do not have. The reason why many who profess Christ as Savior never share their faith is because they have no faith. Faith means doing the hard things because God said so. In 1924 Missionary and Runner Eric Liddell went to Paris for the Summer Olympics. Eric loved the Lord. He told his sister:
I believe that God made me for a purpose …But he also made me fast.
And when I run I feel his pleasure.
When he was told that the qualifying heats for the 100 meter race was on Sunday he refused to go. When confronted by the Prince of Wales – the future King of England who demanded that he change his mind – he said:
“God made countries, God makes kings and the rules by which they govern. And those rules say that the Sabbath is his. And I for one intend to keep it that way.”
He withdrew from the race. But this wasn’t the whole story. Having withdrawn from the 100 meter race, Liddell trained instead for the 400 meters race. Unfortunately, he consistently turned in sub par times. And so, when the day of the 400 meters finally arrived – July 11, 1924 – he was not expected to win. As he stepped toward the starting blocks, a trainer from the American Olympic Team, inspired by Eric’s faithfulness, handed him a piece of paper with Scripture from 1 Samuel 2:30 …
“It says in the Old Book: He that honors me I will honor”
With paper folded in hand, Eric ran the 400 meters race. His time was 47.6 seconds, a new world record.
Our God is able. We who believe need to trust Him and share His Gospel. We who are to be “A Tree of Life” must be what God has designed us to be.
Read and meditate on His Word. Pray. And look for the broken. God will put them in your path.
Tell them about Jesus. Pray with them. Share what Jesus has done for you. May God touch your hearts with His Word.