Monday, July 16, 2012


Most of us only have HEARD the first actually ends in a question...verse 4 ends in an Exclaimation Point!

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream: 'T is the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us no more?Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand, Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation; Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust" And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Friday, February 3, 2012

What did Jesus' brother say about Him?

No one knows us like family! I have felt like I needed to go through the book of James for some time. James was Jesus' half brother and would have had the most unique recorded perspective of His life.

This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing to the "twelve tribes"—Jewish believers scattered abroad.
Greetings! (James 1:1 NLT)

I believe this first verse says it all! James refers to himself as a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. His refering to his brother as the "Lord" should be crystal clear that the author of the New Testament that knew him best, had confidence in Jesus' divinity. Without it, no sibling would call himself a slave.

Steve Amos

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 24

My son, fear the Lord and the king,
and do not join with those who do otherwise,
for disaster will arise suddenly from them,
and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
(Proverbs 24:21, 22 ESV)

People we surround ourselves with are vitally important to our success all through our life. I have been blessed with high quality individuals throughout many portions of my life. However, I have also had friends that were not as godly as others. Unfortunately those friends probably had more influence on me than I did them. And unless you are very strong walking with the Lord, you probably tend to do that rather than being a Godly influence on them.

I am reminded of Jesus sending the Disciples out only after being with him for a long period of time, teaching them, correcting them and rebuking them. We need to be very careful whom we make in our inner circle of friends, poor choices will lead to problems as the verses indicate.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 23

Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.

Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
(Proverbs 23:17, 18 ESV)

Sometimes we loose focus. We see someone who is successful from the world's standard and look up to them. In God's economy, no one deserves any recognition for their posessions, either God enabled and provided for it, and therefore God should have the glory, or they have acquired their wealth by dishonest means. Our ability to "work hard" is God's grace and can go away quickly with a health issue. If you are successful, do not boast in yourself, praise the Lord! He is our future and our Savior!

Many Blessings!

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 22

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;

For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
(Proverbs 22:17, 18 NASB)

Learning, gaining knowledge takes work! You can't just throw your Bible in the back windown of your car until next Sunday and expect to learn anything through the week, at least anything about God. You can pick any part of the Bible and gain some insight or wisdom from it. But, sadly, we are distracted by numerous things in our lives and fail to actively pursue the knowledge and wisdom that are available to us. What you learn will not just make you the star student in Sunday School, you can apply many of the principles in the rest of your life, with your family, with you career, and with your friends. As verse 18 says, that they may be ready on your lips to bless others. Mostly it will provide encouragement to you throughout your day. The old saying the dusty bible lead to dirty lives is true, the only way we get true wisdom is in the Word. If you spend only 5 minutes a day reading through Proverbs you will be blessed and will gain wisdom to use and to help others.

For Him,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 21

The desire of the sluggard kills him,
for his hands refuse to labor.
All day long he craves and craves,
but the righteous gives and does not hold back.
Proverbs 21:25-26 ESV

There are so many nuggets of goodness in these verses, but it is clear
that people have one of two outlooks on are either a giver
or a taker.

A taker would rather talk than work, only looking for the reward of
the work, not just the work.

The Righteous is generous in what he has been given, maybe generous to
a fault, "does not hold back" That is only a God thing, no humans
apart from the Holy Spirit would operate this way.

The application is simple, look at your life and see which one you
are. The Lord had called us to be righteous, but there are numerous
examples of whole churches not following that example. But you can
always change for His glory!

Many blessings,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 20

Do not say, "I will repay evil";
Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

Man's steps are ordained by the LORD,
How then can man understand his way?
(Proverbs 20:22, 24 NASB)

Too many times we overestimate our ability to discern circumstances. We think that we have all of the evidence and ability to pass judgement. However, these closely related passages clearly show we are lacking.

The only way that we can walk is by faith, because we can't see the big picture. When great things happen, we must praise the Lord for His blessings. When bad things happen, we must remember that promise that Paul gave in Romans 8:28 "and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

If we are His, we have committed our lives to his service. Unlike what is taught by many on TV, that does not always mean health and wealth. Of the original 12 disciples, only John was not KILLED for his faith in Christ. Please don't fear becoming a Christian, however, remember if you are His, you will spend eternity with God. This life, no matter how we depart, is only a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.

For Him,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 19

Proverbs 19:20-21
Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

We live in the US, possibly the most goal oriented nation in the
world. By the time we are in high school we are expected to have our
whole life planned out. I know that was the best time for purposeful
self analysis for me...ok, maybe not, but many of us do make life
changing decisions at that age, most of which we later revisit and
change. The beginning of wisdom is the realization that you don't have
all of it! And in high school, you are about at the peak of your
perceived intelligence. Those that make great decisions at that age
are the ones who seek advise, maybe even from your parents and combine
that with some analysis of what really moves you needle, those things
that make your heart race or the things that make you cry.

But even us old folks need to seek advise even more, we have less
years to make an impact on this world! We do have the advantage of
understanding that our plans are subject to change. We need to seek
the Lord's guidance for our plans, look for Him working and join Him.
On our own, we will only be using our best efforts, but the Lord's
plans are backed by miraculous power and wisdom and never fails.
That's the team that I want to be on.

Many blessings,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 18

A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
(Proverbs 18:3)

What powerful thoughts! As people who have seemingly thinner and
thinner skin, we are constantly at risk of alienating our family. Some
of the people closest to us will hold grudges for a very long time
over very minor things. But just like the strong city is hard to
penetrate, it is also isolated from the rest of the world when its
defenses are up.

Are there relationships that you need to lower your defenses to allow
to be reconciled? Are there relationships that you have injured and
caused barriers to be placed between you and them? Seek the Lord's
guidance with a heart of love and He will give you wisdom.

In Christ,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 17

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and the LORD tests hearts.

(Pr 17:3) ESV

When gold and silver are heated up the impurities separate and float
to the top. The same things often happen in our lives, when there is a
stressful situation, whatever that is hidden inside that is ungodly
often boils to the surface. When we are under stress all of those
feelings that good times smooth over overtake us.

Many times in a contentious meeting or in a disagreement with our
spouses, we find ourselves saying things that we wish we had not.
Where does it come from? It comes from the inner recesses of our
heart. We must examine our core attitudes with respect to scripture.
Are they they thoughts of Christ or the flesh? As we emerse ourselves
in His Word, slowly, over time we take captive those fleshly thoughts
and replace them with Christ's.

In Christ,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 16

Well after our internet and cable were knocked out last night until 10, then 11, then...I thought that I would just send this today.

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 16:2, 3 ESV)

Wow! In our own eyes we can do no wrong. That sounds like the ideals of a 5 year old, but separated from the Holy Spirit, we are all about in the same condition. Our flesh is overwhelmingly selffish, just more subtle the older we get. But if we examine ourselves in the reflection of scripture, we can begin to see ourselves as we really are.

Too many believers in Christ begin to try to work for the Lord without using His power. Apart from the enablement of the Holy Spirirt we can only accomplish worldly success, however if we are doing His work, with His power, we can be a small part of the miraculous. As Blackaby says in Experiencing God, we must "look" for the Lord at work and join him.

For Him,

Steve Amos

Sent from my iPad

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 15

Proverbs 15:1-4 ESV

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

This is one of my favorite Proverbs and yet it is always so hard to
do. When you are in a disagreement with someone the soft answer will
diffuse the situation more times than not. But if we do not the flesh
rises up and a heated battle is likely to occur. It happens so many
times early on in a marriage, both people end up bruised and battered.
But if only one of the two issues a ceasefire, then many times the war
is over.

Our tongues are one of the most powerful parts of our being, James 3:8
"It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." Many times wisdom is
exhibited in silence. The word unspoken is often the most powerful.
But an unbridled tongue is poisonous to everyone it touches, breaking
the spirit.

"Lord we pray that you take control of our tongues, that you use them
only for building up and not tearing down."

For Him,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 14

Proverbs 14:7-8 ESV

Leave the presence of a fool,

for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way,

but the folly of fools is deceiving.

What can someone who is wise ever learn from a fool? Nothing, however in our culture foolishness is attractive. We need to recognize that there is no worth from entertaining ourselves with that foolishness, but instead seeking out wisdom to change our lives posively. I think that this is particularly important in our, movies and television. Our media should honor Christ if we are believers.

For Him,

Sent from my Kindle Fire

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 13

A wise son hears his father's instruction,

but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good,

but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;

he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (Proverbs 13:1-3 ESV)

We've all known those people who have never made a mistake, but seem to just throw everybody else under the bus when something bad happens. It is hard to listen to where we made mistakes, but more times than not, they are right. Be very careful about ignoring someone who rebukes you, they may not be 100% right, but you arent either.

Steve Amos

Sent from my iPad

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wisdom for the new year -Proverbs 12

Proverbs 12:1 ESV

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,

but he who hates reproof is stupid.

12:15 ESV

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,

but a wise man listens to advice.

Most of us learn best through making mistakes. I can think of many instances of my Dad telling me either something would work or wouldn't work and I would plow right through doing it my way....guess who was looking smart 90% of the time.

I always joke that I was my smartest at 18 and have gotten progressively stupider. I realize haw little I know and how much everyone else knows. It is better to talk to someone who has done it before than to repeat their mistakes or invent new ones.

People who do not seek advice are frustraiting, but I wonder in we don't frustrait God sometimes, He has provided for us richly. We have His Word, His Spirit and brothers who have experienced far more than we have. Yet we don't ask or seek wisdom. We are having an "18" moment.

Lord help us call on you for everything, we are confident you will provide generously!

His Slave,

Sent from my Kindle Fire

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 11

Proverbs 11:2-4 NASB

When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom.
The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.

This passage starts out with the warning that when we are prideful, the end of success comes quickly. You see it in the political arena, in athletics and in almost every area. But it is especially true in church with the "holier than thou" crowd.

As Christians, we must remain humble, realize that we are not the answer to every problem, and ask God for guidance or use principles from His Word.

In America, we run after wealth and power, its the American dream. But we cant take a penny with us and most of the people we leave it with wont appreciate it. With that said, why would we compromise our values for money?? Yet it happens all the time. If our faith is not more important than anything this World has to offer, we do not have much of a faith.

For a loving and just God,

Sent from my Kindle Fire

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 10

Proverbs 10:15-17 NASB

The rich man's wealth is his fortress,
The ruin of the poor is their poverty.
The wages of the righteous is life,
The income of the wicked, punishment.
He is  on  the path of life who heeds instruction,
But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

We have been given such a fantastic resourse in the Word,  but many devote little time to studying it or reading. In the Word, we are given the instructions for leading the righteous life, the joyful life, but those who spend little time in the Word are defenseless to the World's seductions, leading to ruin.

For Him,

Sent from my Kindle Fire

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 9

Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,

and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;

reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;

teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:7-10 ESV)

I know that I experienced this as a lost soul, someone telling you that you need to quit sinning...a person who is walking in darkness their whole life does not know what the light looks like! Point sinners to Christ, point them to His Word, that will open their hearts, not condemnation.

To the brother in Christ, in love, we need to point out short comings. Although equally uncomfortable, both people in a time of correction will be blessed. One will improve their character, the other will have more confidence in the Lord.

His Word never comes back void.

In Christ,

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 8

"I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,

and I find knowledge and discretion.

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.

Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

and perverted speech I hate.

I have counsel and sound wisdom;

I have insight; I have strength. (Proverbs 8:12-14 ESV)

All too many times people want to be saved from their past sins and then will return to them and get as close as possible to them without crossing some self determined line. "The fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil" means that we need to marry our Lord and stop dating all of the other harlots that vie for our attention. Not only stop dating them, run them out of town.

Then it condemns the two silent sins, pride and arrogance. The worst thing about these are that sometimes everyone knows you struggle with these except the oblivious sinner. Regularly ask the Lord to reveal these areas of weakness in our character, because most of us struggle with them.

In Christ,

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 7

My son, keep my words

and treasure up my commandments with you;

keep my commandments and live;

keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;

bind them on your fingers;

write them on the tablet of your heart.

Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"

and call insight your intimate friend,

to keep you from the forbidden woman,

from the adulteress with her smooth words. (Proverbs 7:1-5 ESV)

Our flesh is weak, there is no doubt. This chapter focuses on the adultress, but right in the beginning Solomon gives us the antidote to our struggles withh our flesh. "treasure up my commandments" don't just read the Word out of some begrudging submission (thanks @mattchandler74) but out of the attitude that it is a mine full of precious jewels.

This attitude overcomes our sinnful flesh and allows us to walk more like the beauty of Christ's time here on earth.

Many blessings,

Steve Amos

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 6

After a night of falling asleep and not getting this out, I was hoping to find some wisdom on getting at least 6 hours of sleep....but...

There are six things that the Lord hates,

seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

and hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked plans,

feet that make haste to run to evil,

a false witness who breathes out lies,

and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV)

We don't hear about God hating much, but many of these things are all throughout the New Testament. So....I guess He new we would struggle with them. Maybe not shedding innocent blood, but being arrogant, telling lies, creating dissension. Our flesh loves these things and they produce many issues for the 21st century church.

But maybe we should focus on the converse, which we assume what God loves, what God IS...Humility, honesty, creating harmony, it reminds me very much of the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5-7, where the Lord describes those who are blessed.

Shouldn't we beg God for those attributes? But it requires laying down "self" to do it, only with the Holy Spirit can we accomplish that.

Our desire must be more Him and less of me. We need to feed upon His Word and take time for reflective prayer.

In Christ,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wisdom for the new year - Proverbs 5

Proverbs 5 (ESV)
1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;

incline your ear to my understanding,

2  that you may keep discretion,

and your lips may guard knowledge.

3  For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,

and her speech is smoother than oil,

4  but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

sharp as a two-edged sword.

Wisdom is not just looking at the here and now, but focusing on the
future outcomes of today's actions. Perhaps a casual conversation
today may blossom into both parties being involved in an inappropriate
relationship for married people. We need to place boundaries on our
lives that preclude intimate conversations from happening with members
of the opposite sex that we are not married to.

The law of sin's diminishing returns is epitomized by the adulterous
relationship. In the time of Solomon's writing, honey was the sweetest
food available and that is how the relationship would start, but soon
bitterness of mistrust develops and cuts both people into pieces. How
can someone who someone cheats with ever be trusted not to do the same
with someone else?

Maybe you don't struggle with inapropriate relationships with members
of the opposite sex, but there is application in these verse to new a
new job or career. There are may even be applications to our stuff.
Who doesn't want the new technological gizmo, but last years next big
thing is probably already in the trash bin.

The Bible is full of practical information, take time to read it today.

Loving the Word,

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wisdom for the New Year - Proverbs 4

Proverbs 4 (ESV)
21   My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21  Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
22  For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
23  Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24  Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25  Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26  Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27  Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
This is one of those sections that supports the "You are who you hang with" theory. I have shared that theory with young people on several occasions and with their parents. Good kids don't stay good kids hanging out with the wrong crowd. But the truth is that we are not much better as big kids.
It wouldn't take long hanging out with a certain "old" crowd for my speech to change or my desires to change. That is what "Keep your heart" is talking about.
You can't listen to music that is full of obscene language and not expect that to overflow from your lips. We could talk about movies, novels, magazines, etc. But even TV commercials have a great impact, otherwise companies would not spend millions of dollars to advertise in the Superbowl for a 30 second commercial.
Guard your heart, eyes and ears beloved and your ways will be sure, keep you gaze on Christ.
Serving our precious Lord,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wisdom for the New Year - Proverbs 3

Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV
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.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
After the last few years, we all could use some refreshment! If we put our faith in the stock market, we've been disappointed. Faith in real estate has proved to be false. But the Lord is always faithful to our trusting Him.
But in order to enter into this refreshment, we have to give up....give up our good ideas for the best ideas. Seeking his will for our lives rather than the "American dream" Honoring Him rather than seeking our glory.
None of this is easy, but the healing and refreshment is worth it...we need to step down from the throne of our life and allow the one who made us, to control who we become.
Many Blessings,
Sent from my Kindle Fire

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wisdom for the New Year

Proverbs 2:1 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Pr 2:1–5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Most of the time our flesh is offended by Godly wisdom and advise. We get irritated, angry, or really mad when someone corrects us or if we read something that hits us hard in the Word, but if you are His, eventually the Spirit prevails and overcomes the flesh. These verses seem to indicate that the mature believer doesn't come around eventually, they seek diligently after it, because they understand how high God's standards are and how short we fall all the time of these standards.

We should "seek it like silver"...

Do you put as much effort in your Bible study as you do at your job...I unfortunately do not most days...God gets my leftovers too many times. 

What would someone do if they thought there was a "hidden treasure" in their back yard? Many would spend a lot of time and effort searching for it. But the Bible has guaranteed returns in your life and many times it lays covered in dust. 

Let us pray for the right priorities with our time and efforts and truly seek after His wisdom in 2012.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wisdom for the New Year

As we enter into the what can be a new beginning, January 1, 2012, It seemed good to me to read through Proverbs.
The wisdom contained in that book never fails to bare fruit in my life.
We will be looking at a chapter a day....
Isaiah 1:
           2       To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,
           3       to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;
           4       to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—
           5       Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,
           6       to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
           7       The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Pr 1:2–7).
We all, at our core, think we have all of the answers or have the ability to figure them out. Too many times we fail to ask for instruction or advise and make poor decisions.
THe idea that I had in starting a blog called Joy Journal was that the Bible delivers us wise advice that ultimately brings joy into our advise.
Sinful decision may passify for the short term, but just as with a baby, you end up still hungry.
Let us each consider how limited we are and how great God is in this New Year and seek His teaching and wisdom.
For Him,