Don’t let your feelings define you.  You are not what you feel!  You are so much more.  Let God define you.  You are his child.  He loves you deeply.  He knows you by name---even before this world was ever created!  There is something in this world only you can accomplish.  And as long as the sun comes up in the morning, there’s always hope

AuthorCasey Shannon

A new dawn offers new hope.  A new day gives a fresh start.  Yesterday has happened.  We can’t change it.  But we can learn from it.  Now we face a new day with encouragement and hope.  We can’t alter the past.  But we can learn from it and face a better future with hope.

As long as the sun comes up in the morning, there is always hope.

AuthorCasey Shannon

Here is another reason to choose life over death: There are people only you can love at this moment in human history.  Unless you love them, right now, in your special way, with your unique touch, at this specific moment, they will not be loved.  It’s part of your call on earth.  It’s an important reason for why you exist at this moment on earth.

AuthorCasey Shannon

When God created you, there were good works he prepared for only you to do (Ephesians 2:10).  No one else in the entire world can do them!  No one else throughout all human history can do them!  These good works are solely God’s assignment for you to do.  If you don’t do them, they don’t get done.  

AuthorCasey Shannon

Our names are tattooed on God’s hands (Isaiah 49:16).  He can’t ever forget them.  In Isaiah 49:15, God asks if it’s ever possible for him to forget us?  He compares it to a mother’s inability to ever forget a child’s name.  Is this possible?

AuthorCasey Shannon

Grab hold of this truth: At some point in the expanse of eternity, before and beyond the creation of space and time, God loved you.  Think more deeply about this truth: Before the world was ever created, God chose to love you (Ephesians 1:4).  

AuthorCasey Shannon

When did the Christian faith jettison the balance between God’s grace and truth?  When did we forget the intersection on the cross of God’s holiness/justice and his love/forgiveness?  God does love us, but never at the expense of truth.  

A leadership guru once astutely said, “People don’t do what you expect.  They do what you inspect.”  He is correct.  Left to ourselves, people are bent to do what we want to do, not what is expected of us to do.

The same is true with God.  Left to ourselves, we are bent toward reflecting that famous verse in Judges: “And everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).  This verse was stated during Israel’s darkest days.  There was no godly leadership and moral direction.  No nation can continue to stand when this statement becomes the highest virtue of the land.

AuthorCasey Shannon

The Post (Week 17: Proverbs 23-29)  

We are wrapping up Proverbs this week, so I wanted to end the way Proverbs does, with the focus on a godly woman.

Right away, you can sense God’s affirming respect as the writer introduces this woman as an excellent wife. She is rare, for he asks, “who can find” one with such magnificent qualities. Her relationship with her husband is wonderful. Her husband has full confidence in her for she lacks nothing in her character.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life, (vs. 11-12). Her children respect and love her, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."(Vs. 28-29).

She is faithful with the gifts she has been given, she works with her hands, considers a field and earns a wage, plants a vineyard and is deeply committed to her home and family.

She is also compassionate and secure. Within the heart of this mother is deep character. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." (Vs. 25-26,29)

On top of all this, she walks with God. She holds Him in the highest regard and maintains a close relationship with the One who gave her life, health, personality, determination, and her creativity. She fears the Lord, and as we started the Proverbs four weeks ago with this thought, that is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Vs 30-31)

In the end, she is the praise of her children and husband alike. And what is her man like? Even though Proverbs does not places all verses on a godly man’s character in one place as it does with the woman here, the parallels are the same.

Let me end with a temptation we could fall into with this Proverb section. These amazing character traits could become laws to follow and we could think the only way to keep a relationship with God is to keep these laws as well. The key to the Proverbs 31 woman and man is to submit to God as king and let Him work these beautiful characteristics in you. In other words, don’t live this way to be loved, let the Lord reveal His true love to you, and as a result live this kind of life.

Tips for Reading- (Observation tip # 17)

Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It will be building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over last week to get the whole picture.

Have you ever wondered what people write in their journals? One popular discipline that many Christians have in their time with God is journaling…but what does that mean? It may mean writing out prayers, or processing emotions through writing, but you can also use your journal to take notes about what you are reading in your Bible Study.

I think it’s funny how I often believe that somehow I will remember what I’m learning without writing it down and taking notes. For years I wouldn’t take the time to write out my thoughts about the chapters I was reading because I had a notion God would somehow make it stick since it was from Him. Now I call that a shortcut and laziness on my part.

The truth is, just like taking notes on your science reading so that you remember what you read, there’s an appropriate time for taking notes on the Bible.

One way you can take notes is to spend time summarizing what you have read. In other words, when you get done with a book of the Bible put it all together.

Here are a few helpful tips from Howard Hendricks in “Living by the Book.”

• While you are studying the book, assign titles to paragraphs or chapters. Be creative and make them your own, not just the one’s already written in the Bible you are using. This will help you retain your insights in neat packages.

• Create a chart using all these titles you have been writing. The book of Proverbs is a great place to try this because there are several big sweeping ideas. Focus on topics like the fool and the wise person. You can look the use of the tongue or care for the poor. Keep the charts simple. You can always add more detail later when you study the book again. The challenge is to clear away clutter. Just write the big ideas, the key characters to start with.

I will give you a couple more tips in this area next week.

Notes from David’s Journal

In these chapters of Proverbs, many different practical principles for life show themselves. As you read them, search for these themes:

-In chapter 22: debt, giving to the poor, being a negative person, laziness
-in chapter 23: our thought life, parenting, personal responsibility
-in chapter 24: truth-telling, family, revenge and retaliation
-in chapter 25: humility, dealing with life’s “messes,” patience
-in chapter 26: meddling, excuses, gossiping
-in chapter 27: daily living, honoring parents, guarding your heart
-in chapter 28: poor, obedience to the Law of God, leadership
-in chapter 29: a teachable heart, parental discipline, pride

Who says the Bible isn’t practical for our every day lives?

I never will.


Thomas Edison once said, “What man’s mind can create, man’s character can control.”

He is correct.  If your mind can conceive a dream, you character should be able to set the proper boundaries around the dream to allow it to happen.

A dream can become a swamp.  Without boundaries, you can try anything and everything to make the dream come true.  Before you know it, your dream can become muddled in mediocrity with no real focus.

But when your dream is conceived, and you put character boundaries around it, your dream will be like a slow, steady, and powerful river floating toward its destiny.  Nothing can keep it from succeeding.  Nothing can stop it. If a river faces a barrier, it either goes through it or around it.  So will your dream.

So dream a great dream.  But just make sure it has great character boundaries focusing it.

Then success will occur.


Here is a success formula that we all need.

For life to have meaning we must first have a dream.  We need something that makes us get up in the morning.  It drives us.  It impassions us.  We can’t get it out of our minds.  We know it’s why we were created.  No dreams is meaninglessness.

But there’s a necessary second step as well.  The dream must have perseverance.  It must have a relentless desire to succeed.  It must be like a dog with teeth on a leather shoe.  It won’t let go no matter what.

So if you want to be successful in life, first find your dream.  Discover what makes your heart beat more quickly than anything else in the world.

Second, commit to that dream.  Go for it.  And when those difficult times come, you refuse to give up.  You keep moving forward until the dream is yours.


The Post (Week 16: Proverbs 16-22) 

See if you can figure out the commonality of the following verses in our readings this week.

“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7)

“In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)

“The King’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1)

Do you see the common thread as the Sovereignty of God? Even though man thinks he runs the show, God is ultimately the one in control.

Notice the balance of these two thoughts in Proverbs. Human beings are responsible for what they choose and what they do. God gives us the steering wheel and calls us to be faithful with it. Proverbs gives us principles to guide our lives and our interactions with others in wisdom. But, much of the time, we live our life as if we deserve all credit too. An organization stays in business through tough times and we give the CEO a big raise. A degree is earned and we applaud the graduates. We forget that if a good story has been told, God is the one that ultimately deserves the praise.

What are some practice aspects of this truth? When we are in tough times and begin to think we are alone and that everything depends on us that is never the truth. The Holy Spirit is always at work whether we notice or not. And he is in control. When our children make decisions that we are saddened by, we know that God is still telling a good story and can use all things for good. Even the things we would never have planned.

Tips for Reading- (Observation tip # 16)

Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It will be building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over last week to get the whole picture.

Simple Question and Comparison:

One of the ways Proverbs gets us thinking is by using rhetorical questions. If I ask you a question, it more or less forces you to find the answer. A question is one of the most powerful tools of communication. You can learn a lot about what you really believe when you let God’s questions penetrate your soul.

Look at Proverbs 17:6 from this weeks reading: “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?”

This implies that using money in ways that don’t make you wise is so unprofitable that you would be better off without money. This proverbs is tying two ideas that we might not have thought to put together - wisdom and money.

Another way Proverbs gets to our heart is through comparison. “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1)

Or this one, “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” (Proverbs 19:1)

Or this one, “Better to live on a corner of the roof, than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” (Proverbs 21:9)

These proverbs do a great job of showing value judgment on what we should invest our lives in. They also assess how a fool would live and show that it will end in disaster.

What other questions and comparisons jump out at you in this weeks readings?

Notes from David’s Journal

As I read and reread Proverbs, I’m continually struck by how my heart is convicted when I read these verses. When Solomon first became king, God gave him the privilege of asking for one thing to rule over the people. He disdained power, control, money and influence. Instead, he asked for wisdom. These pithy proverbs drip with wisdom.

In these chapters, you will discover wisdom about our words, thought life, parenting and generosity. I can’t possibly cover them all. But let me tell you what I did. With each proverb I wrote by the side its basic message in one word. Do the same. Then, in the future, when you’re confronted with a tough decision and need wisdom, go back to your margins and look for what each proverb is saying. You’ll then easily find the subject matter. And you just may find what God wants you to know as you’re making this decision.

God still speaks to us today and one of the major ways He does so is through His Word. He is speaking. Are we willing to seek and listen? To God be the glory!


Maybe this way to achieve more hope in your life is too simple.  But I’m going to give it to you any way today.  Here it is.

Sleep.  Your body was created for sleep.  Most people need seven to nine hours of rest every day.  For teens and kids even more is needed.  Their bodies are growing at huge rates and they need even more sleep than we do as adults.  

Lack of sleep can inhibit productivity and trigger anxiety.  If not properly addressed, it can cause serious healthy consequences.  Indeed, amazingly, a lot of healing is done while the body is at rest.  It’s God’s way of giving us an anesthesia so he can do some of his best healing work.

How are you doing on the sleep front?  Just remember: a lack of sleep can lead to a lack of hope.

And all of us need hope to get moving forward in life.


The Post (Week 15: Proverbs 9-15) 

“The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short,” (Proverbs 10:27).

How am I to understand this Proverb? Is it a promise that if I try to live a godly life, I will live an extra long time? Does it mean that every elderly person I meet is godly, and friends who die young are not? Common sense and experience tells me this is not true. But how am I to interpret and learn from Proverbs if they are not unqualified promises?

A good principle for reading the Proverbs, especially the section starting with Chapter 10 titled “Proverbs of Solomon,” is to see them as wise, generalized conclusions about how the world works doing things God’s way. In other words, even though our world is fallen, Proverbs show us a great way to live life. The fear of the Lord really does add years to one’s life; on the whole, a life lived in this way will adopt fewer bad habits, will learn trust and therefore reduce stress. If we follow principles in Scripture, we will watch what we say, we will value hard work, and we will care for our family and friends. As a result, our lives will be enhanced.

Let’s choose one of these examples and see what our readings say and try figure out how to apply it. Look at what Proverbs 11 says about watching our mouths, or human speech. We see here that the mouth can be a blessing, or a curse depending on its usage (vs. 11 and 14). Also at times, it seems like one of the godliest things to do with a mouth is to keep it silent. “A man of understanding holds his tongue…a trustworthy man keeps a secret (vs. 12, 13).” Proverbs 10:19 says the same thing, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

However, these Proverbs are clearly not promises. They do not say, if you always shut your mouth and stay silent you will never sin - but, it’s a good principle to watch what you are saying, and therefore make a wise choice.

Tips for Reading- (Observation tip # 15)

Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It will be building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over last week to get the whole picture.

We’re getting down to the end of our observation section of Bible study. Next stop in three weeks will be interpretation. It might be a good time to go back over what you have learned and put your observations on an index card in bullet form. That way, you can take those observations with you as we move towards interpretation.

Okay, here’s the next tip: look for things that are emphasized. In Proverbs this is easy because there are many topics that are repeated over and over again. Proverbs does this through different devises. One is parallelism.

A way in which parallelism works is to emphasize opposites. “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (vs. 13:20). The second line is almost the opposite of the first, and the two lines together remind readers they will be shaped by the company they keep and by the advice they listen to.

Another way parallelism performs its task of emphasis is by giving the second line, not as an opposite, but as an extension. “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snare of death.” The contrast of death and life is not contrasted but illustrated twice.

The point is to see which topics the Scriptures emphasize and how we are called to live in light of these truths.

Notes from David’s Journal

As you enter into this next reading period, Proverbs 9 concludes Solomon’s “wisdom” section. You probably noted how, in the previous chapters, Solomon constantly extols the necessary aspect of wisdom in all our lives.

Someone once said that the difference between knowledge and wisdom is simple: knowledge is facts you put in your brain and wisdom is the practical application of that knowledge. That’s why a lot of people we know are very smart when it comes to knowledge but are really stupid when it comes to living their lives rightly. Or, as one person put it, to educate the mind without educating the morals is to educate a menace to society!

As you begin reading Proverbs 10 and beyond, note the pithy “wisdom” sayings of Solomon. They cover a variety of topics, from the proper use of the tongue, for how to handle relationships, to handling debt, to anger management…even some tips for marriage! They are very useful for today - indeed timeless truths.

Therefore, here’s what I’d love for you to do. As you read this section of Scripture, note beside each verse the subject Solomon is addressing. Then, in your own words, write how it may apply to your own life. Think of the area it’s addressing and figure out the “wisdom,” the practical application for you! I think you’ll find yourself improving your life situations and becoming wiser by the day.


Spend time today reflecting on the fact that our sin nailed Jesus to the cross.  It should have been our cross!  We should have suffered upon the cross instead of Jesus.

But because of his great love and mercy, he substituted himself for us.  He who had perfect righteousness, took sin upon himself, so that we, who are filled with sin, might receive his righteousness.  "He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ"--2 Corinthians 5:21.

Do you know how sinful you are?  Have you gotten in touch with the Biblical fact that all of us have fallen way short of God's glory?  Do you know that before you met Jesus, you were a traitor, enemy and sinner before the holy God of the universe?  Do you know that you deserve eternal hell as your destination?

Only then do you desire the grace of Jesus.  Only then do you desire his forgiveness.

Let me put it another way: our love of God is in direct proportion to how great a sinner we know ourselves to be.  If you think you sin a little, your love for God will be just a little bit.  If you think you are a gross sinner, your love for God will be great.

This week, reflect upon the cross of Christ.  Realize anew it's because of your sin that he had to die.  Understand that your sin nailed him there.

Then experience the exponential growth of his grace in your heart.  Realize anew his eternal mercy given to you through his death.

Realization of your sin should increase your love for him.

That's what's happens in my life, when I survey that wondrous cross!


Here is a great way to deal with worry.  Write all of them down.  Yes, write every single one of them down on a sheet of paper.  Make sure you don’t miss one.  Put the list in a secure place where you know where it is.  Ok, got it?  List is complete?  Now put away?

Now here’s what I want you to do.  Every few weeks, go back and carefully look at the list.  Go through each item you’ve listed.  Now answer this question.  How many of them have actually happened?  How many of them have occurred?

From my experience, few, if any, of them ever occurred.  Relatively rarely do any of them actually happen!

It’s a good lesson for all of us to learn.  When we worry, we are spending tomorrow’s energy for today’s life.  And if they rarely happen, that means we are robbing today of its many blessings by worrying about something that probably won’t happen tomorrow.

It’s impossible to have hope with worry!


The Post (Week 14: Proverbs 2-8) 

T.S. Eliot, the great poet of the early 20th Century, described the difference between wisdom in the ancient world and wisdom today. He said, “Wisdom has become knowledge and knowledge has become information.” In other words, we have transformed wisdom, which helps us make good decisions in light of God’s truths, and turned it into trivial pursuit in which we recite statics and facts. It makes us look good, but most of the time this kind of information doesn’t help us to know how to navigate hard situations of life.

So what is wisdom from Solomon’s (the writer of the Proverbs) perspective? Tim Keller says, “Wisdom is competence with regards to the realities of life.” Wisdom is not only being moral and good - it’s much more. It’s knowing the right thing to do in situations where the moral rules do not apply. For example, Proverbs 6:2-3 describes being “ensnared by the words of your mouth.”

Wisdom helps us to know who to say something to, when to say it and how to say it. If you need to confront your boss, or your spouse or your teenager or a friend, there aren’t specific moral rules that guide you into knowing the time and place. But, wisdom can be your guide. Wisdom is being in touch with and understanding reality.

Many of us in church communities don’t like to be in situations where the moral rules don’t apply. It makes us feel uncomfortable because we don’t exactly know what to do. It calls us to trust God because He can guide us to make a wise decision. Many times, we will make up extra rules so we don’t have to think – it seems we want rules for every situation.

In contrast, the Proverbs call for wisdom, one of our temptations would be to avoid wisdom and look only for rules. (Or again make them up if they are not there). You can see the temptation to become a legalist here. But, God did not give us moral rules to guide every situation. He asks us to trust Him and seek His wisdom. James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

The book of Proverbs becomes very important to our everyday life. It teaches us how to navigate relationships in marriages, in businesses, in politics, in communities, in extended families and thousands of other scenarios. One of the great verses to get us launched into a wisdom pursuit is right here in Chapter 3: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all you ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Tips for Reading- (Observation tip # 14)

Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It will be building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over last week to get the whole picture.

I watched the movie, “Be kind, rewind,” (very funny by the way) and the one thing that jumped out at me was their creativity. The main characters basically retold 10-15 classic movies in their own way. It had me thinking, if we approached the Bible in the same way the stories would jump off the page. For example, as you read through Proverbs, try to picture how the stories would look like. What does the young man in Proverbs 7 look like as he is becoming like an ox on it’s way to the slaughter? Proverbs is so picturesque it calls for us to envision what the principle looks like. It calls us to ask what are we feeling as we hear the words?

A few other ways to get creative is to read the chapters in different translations and look for differences. Or, read one chapter aloud to yourself or somebody else. Some of these proverbs really shouldn’t be divided into chapters, those divisions came later were not original to the text. Recently, I heard a pastor speaking and he simply read through a whole passage and sat down afterwards. It was very moving.

Here’s one more that might be a real challenge: write a paraphrase of some of the proverbs you’re reading this week. Write it down in your own words. Then you will really see what you notice and understand and what you do not.

Notes from David’s Journal

Sometimes it’s hard to admit things as a “man of God,” a minister of the Word of God, a preacher, if you will. But someone once said, confession is good for the soul. Here is my confession: I like Phil Collins’s song, “Easy Lover.” When I jog, I love to listen to it. Its fast-pace, good rhythm and great harmonies really get me going.

Now, before you cast me aside as an evil-doer, understand this fact: the song is based on the Proverbs 6 woman, the seductive woman trying to lure an unsuspecting man into her wiles. Phil Collins’ instruction is vivid and real: men, watch out! She’s an “easy lover,” but she’ll bring you down to your knees. “She’ll take your heart but you won’t feel it,” Collins continues.

The book of Proverbs is Solomon’s wisdom literature. I personally think it was written at the beginning of his kingship, right after he sought wisdom as his highest priority, his greatest need in leadership. God heard his prayer, granted his request and I believe the book of Proverbs is the result of this desire from God.

Proverbs 6 is God’s wisdom about sexual temptation, especially for men. Bottom line for men: when tempted, run! Don’t go near it. It will steal your soul and hurt your heart, sometimes beyond repair, save the Lord’s grace. All men are tempted in this way, but God loves us enough to give us His wisdom through Solomon. Keep reading. You’ll discover even more!


No matter how hard I try I can’t rewrite history.  I can’t go back in time and rewrite things in general history that I wish would have gone differently.  It’s impossible.  It’s unrealistic.

The same is true with what has happened to me in my past.  I can’t go back and change it.  I can’t go back and rewrite it.  As much as I’d like to do so, I must come to grips with the reality that the past is past.  It has happened.  I can’t change it.

Therefore, I choose to learn from these past experiences.  I choose to learn from my bad choices and failures.  And I choose to move ahead—a lot smarter and wiser person that I would have been had I not gone through those mistakes and failures.

History is history.  It’s fun to study but it can’t be changed.  The past is past. No matter how much I’d like to change what happened I just can’t.

Therefore, today, increase hope in your heart by leaving your past in the past.  Don’t let yesterday define your today.

And enjoy life to the full.


I had the privilege of playing basketball for the University of North Carolina in the 1970s. I had the special privilege of playing for Coach Dean Smith, a Hall of Fame coach, an innovator and basketball genius, a man of impeccable integrity.

On Monday night, North Carolina won its sixth national championship in its storied history. Coach Smith won two of those. Three belong to Coach Roy Williams, the present Tar Heel coach. The other championship occurred in 1957 under Coach Frank McGuire – an undefeated season.

Roy and I were in school together. He is a friend. Like his mentor, Dean Smith, he’s a really good coach and an even better person. After Monday night’s championship victory, I conjectured what he learned from Coach Smith that has made him so successful in his own right.

It didn’t take me long to discern my answer. It’s simply three things.

Read more here:

AuthorCasey Shannon

The Post (Week 13: Exodus 35-40, Proverbs 1) 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

This verse probably causes a little hesitance in us all. Is this about being scared? Terrified? We can get a good insight if we look at the way “fear” is used in connection with God in other passages. 

Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his way, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

Psalm 130:3-4 states, “If you, O Lord kept a record of sins, O Lord who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”

And lastly, Proverbs 9:10 gives us great insight by interpreting the word fear, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

What do we see from these verses? That fear is connected with love and understanding, forgiveness and passion. There’s no terror here, but almost a fearful joy. What we fear or are in awe of the most shows what our greatest love is. If you are in touch with what you fear to lose the most, it will show what your life is arranged around. If you are a people pleaser, your greatest fear might be rejection. If you are a power performer you might fear humiliation. But when your greatest fear is God, it has the ability to cast every other fear out. Isn’t that an amazing thought?

This is the reason Proverbs begins with this idea of fearing the Lord; it is the first step to knowing God in the deepest part of our hearts. A writer I enjoy, Tim Keller said, “The fear of the Lord is a life rearrangement of joyful awe and wonder, for both who the Lord is and what He has done.” In other words, when we see the forgiveness He gives fully by grace, and move toward walking in his ways, God can become the core of our motivation and we can begin to understand His wisdom. We’ll begin this process by examining Proverbs for the next month.

Tips for Reading - (Observation tip #13)

Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It will be building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over last week to get the whole picture.

The Proverbs can be a little hard to read if you read them all together in a row. There are a lot of them and there is no narrative to follow. So here are a few practical ways to read the Proverbs:
• Read one Proverb a day with other Bible reading that you are doing.

• Make a topical list: Take a blank sheet of paper and every time you come across a Proverb that expresses an emotion, or talks about the fools and wise, or the hard workers and the lazy, write down the Biblical reference and describe it. At the end of this year you will have a list of emotions and habits to reference. Keep the list handy for you next emotional meltdown or as you are working on disciplines.

• Pray the Proverbs: Many Proverbs are easily adapted into prayers of either praise for what God gives or a request for insight. Consider reading them out loud as a prayer to God.

• Re-Title them: If you looked in my Bible, you would see the Proverb I’m reading has a title describing the topic. If I re-title it with what strikes me about the content, it helps me to understand what’s being said.

• Look for Christ and characteristics He showed, like wisdom, forgiveness and purity. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to do this. Just use your cross reference to discover the connections.

Notes from David’s Journal

Exodus 35-40 continues with the exact commandments from God on the construction of the Tabernacle. One can't help but notice the elaborate detail God expects. Moreover, the finest, best material is used. I don't think that's because God is extravagant, but I do think it's supposed to remind us of the greatness of God's character and His complete holiness.

As you read how the High Priest is supposed to perform the sacrifices for the forgiveness of the Israelites' sin, keep this in mind (it was pointed out to me years ago by a friend); each movement of the High Priest, from the place for the blood sacrifice, to the laver, to the inner courts, to the holy of holies, is in the perfect movement of (you guessed it!) the Cross!!

It's another Old Testament example of foreshadowing the death of Jesus for our sins. In the Old Testament, the blood of goats, bulls, birds and other animals were offered to expiate sins for a short period of time...until the next sin was committed. In Christ, we have the perfect Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, once and for all, forever, never to be atoned for again! God gives clues and insights into what He is going to do in the Old Testament.

Keep looking for them as you read through the Bible. Like the man who appeared to Jacob being a theophanic vision of Jesus coming to earth, so is this movement of the High Priest suggesting the Cross, God's ultimate expression of love, his blood shed for our sins.

The Tabernacle, God's mobile worship unit, given so the people will know God is forever with them. Jesus in us, God's forever Tabernacle, his eternal mobile worship unit, living in us, through us, for His glory and His glory alone!