Acts 3:19

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,  that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

What caught my attention here was the phrase, “that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  This comes after repentance, turning to God, sins wiped out: then, times of refreshing come from the Lord.  Consider then, if we have sin in our lives, as believers, we won’t have refreshing times from the Lord.  In this sin-crazy, dark world, don’t you long for those refreshing oases with the Lord?

Acts 2: 38 & 39

Peter replied, ” Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for  the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

It would be easy to miss this truth since it comes at the end of the passage: it is the Lord Who calls.  It is the Lord Who adds to the number of those being saved.   Our responsibility is to be God’s willing vessels, to share the Good News when given the opportunity.  But, whether that person embraces salvation or not is between the individual and God.  We plant the Word of God, we sow the seeds of truth, but God is the Saviour.

Acts 1:24

Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart.  Show us which of these two you have chosen…”

There is comfort in this verse.  There is accountability, and, there is justice.  Comfort, because we know that when we fall to our knees before Him and cry out – for wisdom, for healing or for help in life – He can read our heart, though our words may be imperfect.  Accountability, because we are to be cleansed from sin before approaching the throne of grace. Justice, because He can see the heart of those who would use and abuse us, those who would be our enemies and He knows how to deal with them.

Be comforted, be careful, have confidence, for the Lord knows everyone’s heart.

Proverbs 31: 8, 9, and 20

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.  vs. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Some have said the woman in this passage is too lofty of an ideal, impossible to imitate.  If you go back to the beginning of the chapter you will see that this is the oracle of a mother’s greatest hope for her son – the perfect woman.  This is the amazing “dream woman” .  All of us have a few of her qualities.  One of the noble characteristics of this godly wife is that she extends herself and her resources to the poor.  She is kind, faithful, hard working, respected and loved.  She knows God.  I like her.  I would like to BE  like her.  In this world we won’t find ourselves being perfect, but we can learn from  Scripture some of the best characteristics of a godly woman/wife/mother.

Proverbs 30:5

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

If we consider the work the shield does for the soldier in battle, this is an incredible picture for us.  When we take refuge in God in times of struggle, or as we battle the enemy of our souls, God is our shield.  What fiery dart or undeserved curse or dangerous attack can penetrate the shield of God  Himself?

Picture:  GIANT SHIELD,  itty, bitty enemy.  You and I?  SAFE behind that shield.

Proverbs 29: 27

The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.

The wicked DETEST the righteous.  Webster defines detest : to dislike intensely, to hate or abhor.

In the book of Psalms we are told that the wicked are overwhelmed in the presence of the righteous.  In Corinthians we learn that we are the smell of death to the wicked.   Knowing we are detested puts a whole new light on our encounters with the wicked.   We can understand why their intentions toward us are evil and not good.  It is difficult sometimes when people we like as friends, but who don’t know Jesus, shun us.  Think about it.  Would you want to hang around someone who makes you feel overwhelmed with dread or who smells like death?  Keep on being the light of Christ.

Proverbs 28:27

He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

Jesus said, ” The poor you will always have with you.”  Elsewhere in Proverbs, it says ” He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord”.  Obviously, the poor are special to God.  In America, even the poor are often richer than those in other countries.  Who are the poor in the U.S.?  Ask the Lord to show you how you can minister His love and provision to them.

Proverbs 27:8

Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home.

As I considered this verse, I thought of a young bird wandering off from its nest.  Away from the protection of home and family, it would be vulnerable to all sorts of dangers.  It might be injured, a predator could come and snatch the unprotected bird, using it for food for its own young ones.  At the very least, the straying bird would be cold, lonely and hungry.  Consider a man or woman who leaves the comfort of  home and family, to search for adventure or to seek comfort in the arms of someone not their spouse.  This person is away from the security of home an family, lost and  unprotected.

Proverbs 26:2

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.

This is one of my favorite verses in Proverbs, probably because it offers such a great visual.  I remember one time when I was working in a restaurant, I asked the manager a question.  His answer was rude and uncalled for, but it didn’t land on me.  Just for a second it was like God gave me “spiritual eyes”.  I saw that undeserved curse bounce off of me and land right back on this man.  So, if someone says something unkind about you or to you, that is undeserved, “BOING!” it bounces right off of you.  If someone is speaking evil of you, remember the sparrow and the swallow.

Proverbs 25:28

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self control.

Most people who are exhibiting what we would see as lack of self control, would probably tell us that they are expressing their freedom, that they are unbound and unrestricted.  In fact, they have lowered the walls of their personal city.  They no longer have a refuge. Lack of discipline and quiet, personal struggles, even sin,  are opened up for all to see.  Also, there is nowhere for them to retreat, to re-group, to refresh, for they have allowed their private space to be exposed to all. “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower;  the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)