“What Really Matters”

June 11, 2015 (Song of Songs 5-8, Philippians 1)

From the Life Journal of Adam Proux

Scripture: “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation, the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ, for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” (Philippians 1: 10-11 NLT)

Observation: Paul wanted the Philippian believers to understand what was really important. Living a life of purity was important to the advancement of the Gospel. True Christians needed to be seen as different from the rest of the world. When they were looked upon a true reflection of Christ is what should be revealed. Paul was encouraging the Philippian believers to remember the importance of living right and keeping themselves unspotted from the stains of worldly living. The righteous fruit of salvation produces a righteous character. Not a self-righteous character, but a righteous character. Salvation does not make a person better than anyone else however, it does make a person more responsible for their actions. Whether or not a person really belongs to God can easily be determined by the fruit their lives produce. A good tree cannot produce evil fruit any more than an apple tree can produce watermelons!

Application: What is the most important thing you will do today? Maybe you have an important meeting to close a BIG deal that will make you a lot of money. Maybe you have a list of household chores that must be completed on the exact schedule you have planned out. Maybe you have to study for a final exam that will get you that degree that you have longed for, for so long. There are a million different things that are important to people on a daily basis yet I would encourage you to truly consider what really is important today. For me, what I am doing right now is probably the most important thing I will do today. I have many responsibilities that must be completed but none are more important than spending time alone with God in His Word. It’s here that I get the instruction needed to be successful at all of my other task. If I do a fabulous job at all my worldly duties but fail to conduct myself in a manner that glorifies God, then I have forsaken what was really important and focused on the wrong things.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for providing me the opportunity to gain the understanding needed to be successful in all of today’s challenges. Help me remember what is really important and remember that I represent you in all that I do. Help me treat people fairly and with respect as I strive to be righteous in all the opportunities that await me today. In Jesus name, Amen!

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“Discipline & Instruction”

June 10, 2015 (Song of Songs 1-4; Ephesians 6)

From the Life Journal of Adam Proux

Scripture: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 NLT)

Observation: The purpose of parental discipline is to help children grow and learn the difference between right and wrong. It’s the Lord’s desire for parents to teach children about him and instruct them on how they should conduct themselves in every situation. The purpose of discipline is not to enrage or discourage children, but rather to encourage and protect them. Part of the instruction process is teaching your children the purpose of discipline. When children understand “why” they are being disciplined they develop the right attitude about discipline and learn not to despise it. God disciplines us for the same reasons and His word clearly declares why He disciplines His children, He disciplines because He loves. Hebrews 12:10-11 (NLT) states, “For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

Application: I must confess that I have failed many times in this arena. I was not disciplined as a child in the way God instructs and I repeated what I had experienced as a child when I became an adult. But thank God for His mercy on me! He has disciplined me as one of His own and transformed my understanding by the renewing of my mind. God has opened up my understanding by revealing His truths through His word. Discipline is not something to despise but rather something to be thankful for. When we learn to embrace discipline as an act of love we have a whole new perspective about it. “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.” Proverbs 15:32 (NLT) Many parents, and children, in our society today have made the choice to openly reject discipline and the truths Gods Word teaches. Ultimately we see the results of this rejection throughout our nation.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know you have forgiven me for the mistakes of ignorance in my past and for that I am truly thankful. However, I still desire forgiveness from those I hurt through my ignorance. Please Lord, touch them and help them understand my hearts intentions. My desire was never to harm or hurt them, rather I sought to correct and instruct them because of my sincere love for them. Truly at that moment I was indeed doing the best I knew how. Thank you again for your mercy and grace that has transformed my understanding and renewed my mind. In Jesus name, Amen.

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“Right Place, Right Time”

June 8, 2015 (Ecclesiastes 7-9, Ephesians 4)

From the Life Journal of Adam Proux:

Scripture: “I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 NLT)

Observation: I believe God has an intended destiny for each of us. I also believe like Solomon that much of our destiny is determined by us being in the right place at the right time. However, I also believe that God has ultimate control and will work things out according to His authority. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, because God ultimately decides the outcome of every situation. It is God that raises us up, and it is God that humbles us down. And Thank God He does! What a mess we make of our lives when we choose the work things out on our own. The talent, skill, strength, and wisdom to win come from God and He gives these blessings to whom He chooses, when He chooses.

Application: We all desire Gods favor in our lives. We want the blessings of God and prefer the heartaches to be passed on to someone else. We are usually eager to stand before God with our hand out desiring to receive from Him all the good things we want. Yet often times I afraid I’ve missed out on some really great blessings because I wasn’t in the right place at the right time. Had I been where God wanted me to be I would have received God’s best that He desired to give me However, because of my selfish choices to do things my own way, I missed out on God’s best and settled for something much less. But thank God for His mercy and grace that redeems us when we repent and humble ourselves before Him. He restores and again pours out His best blessings on us once again! He does this to protect the honor of His name.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your mercy and grace that are far greater than I could ever understand completely. Thank You for being in complete control of my life and always working things out for my good. Thank you for the discipline I’ve received from You that corrected my crooked path and made it straight once again. I love You Lord, and I appreciate You so much. In Jesus name, Amen!

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“Courage to Admit”

April 13, 2015 (1 Samuel 14, 1 Chronicles 4, 2 Corinthians 13)

From the Life Journal of Adam Proux:

Scripture: “Then Saul said to the leaders, ‘Something’s wrong! I want all my army commanders to come here. We must find out what sin was committed today. I vow by the name of the Lord who rescued Israel that the sinner will surely die, even if it is my own son Jonathan!’ But no one would tell him what the trouble was.” 1 Samuel 14: 38-39 NLT

Observation: Saul had charged his army with a foolish oath in order to satisfy his burning desire to defeat the Philistines. His command was for them not to eat anything before he had full revenge of his enemies or else they would be cursed. His son, Jonathan, was not around to hear the foolish oath and ate some honey within the midst of the battle to refresh himself. While God was working with Jonathan and fighting on his behalf, Saul was trying to win the battle with his own strength and wisdom. Saul thought this oath would drive his men to make quick work of the Philistines so they could eat! Yet when the foolishness of Saul’s oath was revealed he chose to stand resolutely to his error instead of admitting he had made a mistake.

Application: When we seek God last, instead of first, we greatly increase our chances of making mistakes. When revenge becomes our motivator we are certain to make decisions that will ultimately displease God. Just as in the situation with Saul one bad decision will lead to another. In our haste to satisfy our own desires we can easily bind ourselves, and others, with unnecessary burdens. Our goal must be to please God, not ourselves. We must humble ourselves before God and repent when our foolishness is brought to our attention. Repentance is a privilege made available to us by God’s amazing mercy and grace. It takes more courage to admit a mistake than to hold resolutely to an error.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the privilege of repenting. Thank you for your Word that leads and guides with complete wisdom. Help me have the courage to admit my mistakes and learn from them. Help me turn from error and seek justice in all my dealings. Bless my family and keep me from foolish decisions, in Jesus name, Amen!

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“Turmoil Within”

March 28, 2014 (Judges 4-5; Psalm 39, 41; 1 Corinthians 13)

From the Life Journal of Adam Proux:

Scripture: “I said to myself, I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me. But as I stood there in silence—not even speaking of good things—the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words:” Psalm 39:1-3 NLT

Observation: Sometimes we grow weary in the battles we face; we get tired and begin to think the storm will never end. We cry out and beg for God to help us, but He seems to be too busy elsewhere to help us. David knew this feeling well. He was the anointed king of Israel but had not yet been able to take his rightful place on the king’s throne. His own son tried to kill him and take the throne from him. His enemies chased him and many tried to kill him. Many times David must have felt like something must be wrong. Surely if God was for me I would not be encountering so much pain and grief. The depression of these realities led David to sit in silence. He didn’t want to sin against God by complaining to others about how God was allowing him to be treated. Yet the more he thought about the situation the hotter he got. The turmoil that grew inside David led him to explode with a fire of words; he cried out to the Lord and trusted in Him to save him.

Application: Have you ever had something on your mind that just smoldered within you. You tried to put it aside and just let it be, but the more you thought about it the hotter you got. What was your response? Did you eventually burst out with anger and complain to anyone that would listen, or did you conduct yourself in a manner pleasing to God? I know it’s easier said than done, believe me I’ve been there. And no, I’ve not always done as well as I know I should have. Sometimes I just don’t understand why God allows some things to happen. I just don’t understand why He allows some people to seemingly get by with doing wrong, while others He disciplines instantly and constantly. But then I turn to His word and see an example like David to encourage and correct my thinking and actions. David’s example teaches me to watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I learn from David’s example to bring my complaints before the Lord and express my most inner thoughts to Him, and Him alone.

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me for failing to conduct myself in a manner that was pleasing to You. Forgive me for my outburst of anger that was vented on any ear that would listen. Forgive me for being frustrated with You over the way I was being treated by others. My hope is in You alone and if You decide to allow some circumstance into my life that I must deal with, so be it. I trust You and know You will always do what’s right, and what’s best. In Jesus name, Amen!

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“Commitment”

March 26, 2014 (Joshua 23-24; Psalm 44; 1 Corinthians 11)

From the Life Journal of Adam Proux:

Scripture: “If you abandon the Lord and serve other gods, he will turn against you and destroy you, even though he has been so good to you.” Joshua 24:20 NLT

Observation: Joshua warned the people about the seriousness of serving the Lord. It was not a profession that was to be taken lightly or without consideration. He urged them to think about what they were committing too and warned them of the consequences they would face if they failed to keep their promise. Joshua plainly told them God was a Holy and jealous God and He would not allow their rebellion, or sins, to go unpunished. The people were commanded to serve the Lord wholeheartedly and not to get mixed up with worshipping cultural gods. They were plainly warned what would happen if they did. God would turn against them and destroy them even though He had been so good to them in the past. Serving the Lord is serious business and must be a continual way of life. It’s not acceptable to commit to Him today and then forsake that commitment tomorrow.

Application: We like to think of God as holy, but struggle to understand what it really means for God to be jealous. His jealously is righteous and just. His commitment to His people is complete and unwavering and He demands the same in return. He will not accept, nor tolerate, a people that go whoring after other gods. He desires a committed relationship that is constant and consistent. He is not impressed by cultural gods and considers them evil thieves seeking to steal the love and affection that is meant for Him alone. As His people we must be certain to serve Him and Him alone. No matter what our culture accepts and worships, we must remain committed and loyal to our God. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us if we keep His commands and serve Him alone. However, if we abandon Him, and the promise we made to serve Him, He will turn against us and destroy us. If we forsake Him, He will give us the opportunity to call on our false gods to save us.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me keep my promise to You. Secure me with Your Holy Spirit and keep me from being lured away after other gods. Show me the path You would have me to walk and strengthen me to travel it bringing You glory. Thank You for Your mercy and grace that provide and protect me every day, in Jesus name, Amen!

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“Self-Discipline”

March 24, 2014 (Joshua 18-20; 1 Corinthians 9)

From the Life Journal of Adam Proux:

Scripture: “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 NLT

Observation: Paul let the Corinthians know how easy it was to follow Christ. He told them all they had to do was believe in Christ and nothing more. He let them know nothing was expected from them and they could just repeat a prayer after him and relax. NOT, quite the opposite in fact! Paul told the Corinthian believers that they needed to train like an athlete trying to win a race. Self-discipline was not merely a suggestion; it was an absolute requirement if one really wanted to win. He instructed them to run with a purpose and to train with a personal intention to win. Even though this is a spiritual race, Paul said he disciplined his body like an athlete training it to do what it should. Paul knew that his physical body needed to produce the proper fruit, revealing that his spirit was being properly trained.

Application: Many books and speakers try to guide wandering souls to self-fulfillment, self-satisfaction, and self-awareness, but few tackle the subject of self-discipline. Self-discipline requires an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses, with an emphasis on the weaknesses part. Self-discipline trains and equips a person to say no when a powerful appetite from within screams yes! Self-discipline is a long steady course in learning attitudes that do not come naturally. Self-discipline causes us to conquer our natural appetites and submit to God’s will completely. The absence of self-discipline has led many people down roads of sin they never intended to travel. Those that are successful have paid the price of self-discipline and understand the great benefits it produces.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me! I desire to be self-disciplined, but fail often. Quicken my spirit and strengthen my soul to discipline myself for Your glory. Help me understand how to train. Show me how to begin today! Thank You for Your mercy, grace, and patience that provides, protects, and sustains me every day, in Jesus name, Amen!

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