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Watch 2022 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - I'm So Glad I Did These Three Things

Levi Lusko - I'm So Glad I Did These Three Things


Levi Lusko - I'm So Glad I Did These Three Things
TOPICS: Thank You Next

If you have ever in your life wished that you could discover a secret to success, or a blueprint to discovering God's will for you, then this message is for you. Why? Because that is precisely what we have in front of us in Proverbs Chapter 3, verses 5 and 6. Some verses that have been, for many of us, probably our favorite verses in scripture. I know for me, as a young person, the first time I came across these verses I was just like, what in the heck? Where have you been all my life? And highlighted them as quick as I could. If you've ever gotten a signed book from me, these are some of the verses that are go-to verses for me, to put into a book that I signed, Proverbs 3, 5, and 6. I'm going to unpack these for you today in a message that I'm calling "I'm So Glad I did These Three Things". Come on. "I'm so Glad I did These Three Things".

There are plenty of decisions that we have all made in life, that we regret. I think about answering my phone one time while I was riding a bicycle. Did not go well. Collided with a minivan in Downtown Kalispell. Absorbed most of the impact with my face. Not here or here. Mostly right here. The radiologist told me it was the maxillary facial part of my skull. I broke it. And it healed. In God's timing. It did not require surgery, but I did hear whistling inside my head every time I made S sounds for about six weeks. So I looked back on that differently. Whatever seemed urgent in the moment, seemed a lot less so after the fact. After the collision. After the crack in my skull.

And of course. I did take great irony in the fact that I was taking the ride to get my heart right before preaching at an event called School Church. In the lead-up to that bike ride, someone say regret. Someone say Ouch. But what Solomon, who has been called the wisest person who ever lived, hello, has to say about it in the book known as the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs, here are three things that if you put into practice in your life, you will never regret after the fact. Let's just read them first. Then of course, because it's the heartbeat of the series, we will take some time to get acquainted with the broader context. But starting in verse 5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And he shall direct your paths. I'm so glad I did these three things.

It has been said by one Professor, Bruce Waltke, he said, "This chapter will give you a finer education than you could receive from most colleges and universities". It is like God just focuses in through this chapter on what it means to be successful, what it means to achieve God's success for your life. Which as another theologian, Dr. James Newheiser put it, he said, "The overarching theme of this chapter is that as you act wisely towards God and men", here we go, "you will be successful in life". Which is what we want. Which is what we strive for. We want to be successful. And we want to have that definition of success calibrated to God's definition for our lives. Because you can be successful in man's eyes, but be a failure in God's eyes. You can have a life everyone's jealous of. But in God's eyes, it was a failure. There's a guy in the New Testament, Jesus spoke about, who had the most enviable farm anywhere.

And to an agricultural society, that was the stuff. That was the cat's meow. And he tore down his barns to build what? Bigger barns. And he had so much laid up for him. He didn't have to ever work again. Everybody in his area was like, "Successful"! He died that night. And God's first word to him was, "You fool. You fool. You fool. Because you were rich for", what do you get on this Earth? If you're doing really well, 100 years, 80 years? 70 years? You were rich for 7 years. But now forever just started, and you're impoverished. So is everyone, Jesus said, who is rich on Earth but poor towards God. So we want to calibrate our definition of success to God's. We want to be successful. And if you do, that's great. Let's just use God's definition and not ours. And Proverbs is going to show us, how giving us a finer education than you could receive at most colleges. The way it does so is so poetic.

The author, Solomon, he personifies both wisdom and foolishness, as voices crying out, as people. As individuals crying out. Specifically, focusing their attention on young people. It's funny, when you read Proverbs, so often it's, "Listen to me, my young child. Listen to me, young daughter". And honestly, many people think Proverbs was accumulating this wisdom throughout his life as a way of setting up his children for success. Indeed, there is a sense in which you're more pliable while you're young. Right? Doesn't Ecclesiastes (also written by Solomon) say that we should seek our Creator in the days of our youth? Before the difficult days come. Translation? It gets harder and harder to make a faith decision and to live for God, the older you get.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association found that most decisions for Christ occur before someone is age 18. So there's a sense in which, when you're young you can have God captivate your heart. Then you get to live your whole life following Him. But it becomes harder and harder to walk with God, Ecclesiastes' saying, the older you get. Why would that be? Why would that be? What? It gets harder to hear, the older you get. Right. Physically and spiritually. And you tend to get set in your ways. If you're listening to the voice of foolishness, because foolishness lifts up its voice too, says "Young people, listen to me".

What does it say? Throughout the book of Proverbs, you'll hear foolishness crying out, telling young people what to do with their money. What to do with friendships. What to do with sexual desires. What to do with business practices. What to do, what to do, foolishness cries out. And it's almost like man, foolishness? Did you hear her? I want to do what she says. Because she calls out, "Have fun. Do what you feel. Do whatever's wrong. Don't let anyone hold you back". Wisdom cries out though, and calls you away from foolishness. And it's harder, listen, the longer you live listening to foolishness voice, to stop doing so. And the more the collateral baggage piles up. Just pragmatically, your life just gets more complicated. So when you do make a faith decision, like, "Now I want to honor God," there's a lot more drama for God to sort out from those years that you spent listening to the voice of foolishness.

Now, don't be discouraged hearing me if you're like "Well, dangit. I'm old". Pack up your Bible and notebook angrily, zip. Like, "zip up, zip". "I'm old, and now you're saying I can't"? No, no, I'm not saying you can't. I'm just saying, it's better then. It's better if. There's always going to be that tension. The tension is, it's true if you're young, it's best to see God while you're young. It's best to honor God while you're young. You don't ever have to spend a year of your life listening to the voice of foolishness. You can get to the end and look back. It is better to not have piled-up divorces, to not have piled-up addictions, not have piled up, to not have had to declare bankruptcy. Proverbs talks about money almost more than any other book in the Bible. So it is always better. But if you are old and you're exhausted now, and you go now, "I can't seek now, my Creator, 'cause you know old dogs and new tricks, pastor". I would just say, "You're not a dog. And these are not tricks".

They're principles, boiled down. Solomon collected 3,000 of them. And he wrote, 3,000 years ago, 900 or so BC, he collected his wisdom in this book. 800 of the 3,000 are collected within the book of Proverbs. At the end there are a few other contributing editors. When we get to them, as we read the Book of Proverbs, we tell that Solomon's not on the mic anymore. Because it gets weird, right? The wisdom of Agur. All right. Some of you have read that, and you're like, that's bizarre. We liked it better when Solomon was writing. That's OK. The way of a serpent on the rock, right? It's like, not Solomon. Proverbs 3, in a chapter where he really hones in on wisdom. He does so with his children, and his children's children, in mind. So it's better for me.

And I think the impact of verse 5 and 6, which are so good, just get more powerful when you think of an older Solomon handing his wisdom literature to his children. And the emotion even takes on a different quality if you think of him on death's door. I'm not going to look at any of my kids in the service, because I'll cry. But if I think about myself at the end of my life, distilling what I've learned and what I've experienced, and when I've listened to the fool voice and when I've listened to the right, because we've all been there for both. And if I was trying to boil it all down, taking my last breaths, holding Lennox's hand or holding Daisy's hand or Clover, or Alivia.

When I was a little kid, man, I saw this movie. Ooh. Michael Keaton, My Life. I'm not going to ask you to raise your hand, 'cause it's like, a really deep cut, OK? But I'm telling you something. I cried like a baby through that thing. It changed my life. Because he finds out he has cancer just as his wife's pregnant. And he spends what he didn't know was going to be her pregnancy and the final days of his life on this earth, doing a video blog for his unborn son. So that his son could have his dad on the TV, teaching them how to shave. Talking to him about driving a car. Doing all these things, trying to encapsulate all of his wisdom down into a finite, what he realized was a fleeting, period of time. Batman. It's Batman. It's my Batman.

I know you're like, no, "Christian Bale's Batman. And Robert Pattinson's an unsmiling Batman". No, no, listen to me. George Clooney's definitely not Batman. Ben Affleck, we're on the fence about being Batman. But my Batman was Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, the Joker. Anybody with me, up in this business? I bumped into Michael Keaton, one time in Livingston, Montana, on the street. And I was like, "I'll never wash this shoulder again. It bumped into Batman". And at the end of his life, looking back to his son, trying to give everything he could for what his son would need, that's the book of Proverbs. That, that shit hit different. Right? That should make it.

So now, let's look at it. We can't read it all. But let's try and get some of the context. This is all under the heading of guidance for the young. My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commandments. For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy in truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, wear them like a necklace, write them on the tablet of your heart. And so find favor. Find favor. Like we are looking for favor. You keep God's word, and you find favor. Or better even put, favor will find you. Because goodness and mercy will follow me, all the days of my life. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him. And He shall direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil. What will it be? It'll be health to your flesh and strength to your bones. Honor the Lord with your possessions. And with the first fruits of all your increase. So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord. Nor detest his correction. For whom the Lord loves, he corrects. Just as a father, the son in whom he delights. Happy is the man who finds wisdom. And the man who gains understanding. For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver. And her gain, more than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies. And all the things you may desire cannot even compare with her. Length of days is in her hand, wisdom's hand. In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness. And her paths are peace.

She is a (you want to underline this one, this is a big one) a tree of life to those who take hold of her. And happy are all who retain her. The Lord, by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge, the depths were broken up, and by His will, clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not God's word depart from your eyes, keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. You will walk safely in your way. Your foot will not stumble. Son, when you lie down, daughter, when you lie down, you will not have to be afraid. Yes, you will lie down in your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes. For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.

Three things I'm so glad I did. What is the first one? The first one that Solomon tells his son is surrender your life to God. You will never, looking back at the end, regret the decision to surrender your life to God. That is the meaning in Verse 5. This verse that we're trying to understand, and better understand because of the context. When Solomon says, here's wisdom. You want to know the ultimate wisdom, this is it being distilled to its irreducible minimum? Trust, here we go, in the Lord, with all of your heart. I have a fear of falling asleep in public. It's deep seated. And it springs forth from my wife. Because she likes to take videos of me if I'm sleeping in a funny way. It doesn't happen at night, thankfully. She's not violated the sanctum of our bedroom. But she has, if I fall asleep on an airplane or on a couch, or on a boat.

Like this moment here, a vacation in Mexico. That's the one. Yeah, that's enough. We don't need to see anymore. You know why? It's none of your business, Jennifer. I'm falling asleep, tend to at times, be a little bit of a mouth breather. Broke my nose a couple of times throughout my life. When I breathe, my lips seal. Then sometimes the puff of breath will break the seal. That's what she thinks is so funny. So she started taking videos. She'll luckily keep them mostly in-house. But now my daughter, my oldest daughter, Alivia, has gotten in on this. So listen to this. Last year, I hurt my eye. I don't know if you're aware. I shot a firework. It malfunctioned. A mortar round went into my left eyeball.

And so I had to wear an eye patch for several weeks while the pressure in my eye went down to a acceptable level, so that I wouldn't lose my vision permanently. While that was happening someone invited me to go on a boat ride. Boats, apparently, bring out the deepest sleep in me. Jesus slept in a boat. So what would Jesus do? I'll leave it there. I fall asleep on this boat, with an eye patch on. This is what happens. That deep Zoom is the meanest part of it all. That's enough. Again, none of your business. As a result, I'm hyper self-conscious about falling asleep in front of people. That brings me to my femur. Which I broke in 2008, on a snowmobile ride. They used titanium to put my leg and my Humpty Dumpty back together again. But I needed physical therapy.

There was a time when I fell asleep on the physical therapy table. Because they were doing something that I just found to be quite relaxing to my IT band. I just fell asleep. Then I heard the puff of air in my third level of REM. I had to wake myself up and say, "wake up, you fool". Because I'm embarrassed to fall asleep in front of people. Blame my wife. I do. This verse, trust in the Lord with all of your heart, could actually be translated, or better translated, don't be afraid to get down and lie down in front of your King. For trust in the Lord with all of your heart. This is literally the Hebrew word, means to lie down like a servant would before his master. Or before like a soldier would before a conquering general. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart.

Don't be afraid. There's nothing more vulnerable than lying down in front of somebody. And Solomon's telling his son, in your life, submit in that way. Surrender in that way. Trust in the Lord. Lie down in front of him, like a servant would before his master. Like a soldier would before a conquering general. One time I was in Washington DC. Someone said, "Do you want to go to this museum"? I said, "What's there"? They said, "General Grant's sword". He thought I would be fazed. I said, "Where's Robert E. Lee's Sword? That's the one I want to see". A sort of victory is fine. But a sort of surrender? That's when the war ended. Solomon's telling his son, you want to live your life by what you can do, what you can accomplish, what you can conquer. That will always limit you.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Hold the sword of surrender out in front of you. This is the secret to success in life. It's humbling yourself under the mighty hand of God, knowing in due season He will exalt you. As scripture says over and over again, trust in the Lord with all of your heart. It doesn't feel like it's a part of it, but this is such the starting place and the factor that is going to determine what God is able to do through you. At least, that's how Paul put it in Romans 12. You know those great verse is about proving the good and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. I've always remembered that because it spells GAP, the G-A-P, good, acceptable.

How many of you would say, I want my life to improve God's goodwill, His acceptable will? His perfect well? That's success. That's success. How do you get there? Of course, it involves how you think, the thoughts you allow into your mind. You can't think, conform to this world, but have your thoughts renewed by the transforming power of the word of God. So you have to watch what you think. But a big part, the starting place is verse 1, Romans 12, where it says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Meaning if you think about God's mercy, and what He was willing to do at the Cross, that should have been you, that should have happened to you, and you actually contemplate that in light of those mercies, the reasonable thing to do would be what? God, whatever you want from me. Whatever you want from me. I present myself to you, as a living, normally sacrifices are dead. So they could just stay on the altar, because they're dead.

You are living. J. Vernon McGee used to say that's why we squirm off the altar when it gets hot. Which is what Solomon's referring to in the second phase. OK, so I trust in the Lord with all of my heart, presenting myself to Him. I'm a living being, but I'm a sacrifice. While I'm living, this is why you have to do it every day. Some of you got saved at that a Promise Keepers event, or a Beth Moore thing. Or you got saved at an event or service here at the church. And that was the day you presented your life to God. But maybe the problem is you're not re-upping that covenant every single day. Re-upping, re-upping. You have to represent. "God, I give you my heart again. God, I give you my life again. God, I give my life".

I got married to Jennie in 2004. But I'm re-upping that decision to live out of the Covenant every single day functionally, as her husband. That's why I was just making fun of her in front of you, just a minute ago. The reality is, we are imperfectly meant to always be trusting in God, with all of our heart. But here we go, secondly, what will I never regret that I did in my life? Stay the course when it seems crazy. Yeah. Wow. Come on. Come on. Stay the course when it seems crazy. Yes. Which is when the altar gets hot. And we want to pull our sacrifice back off that altar. So Solomon tells his son and his daughter, and throughout into the ages, you and me. And he says, hey, listen, I know it's crazy. But you're going to trust God, with all your heart. He's going to, at times, tell you to do some things. And it's going to seem crazy in those times. I need you to hear me.

"Don't lean on your own understanding". So important. Why? God's weird. I mean, you could call Him what you want. But I think He's weird. That's why He needs to feed 5,000 people and he's like, anybody got a Lunchable? Anybody got 5 loaves and 2 fishes? Maybe you've never been to Costco. Right? There are better ways to feed a multitude of people. Or when you need to bring your son into the world as a baby, and you want a virgin to do it. Oh, you guys aren't fazed by that? Don't you want to sit down, God, and go, "Lord, with all due respect, here is the thing about the babies". It's weird. In fact, God owns his weirdness. When in the Book of Isaiah, He says, "My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts". It's a different category entirely.

So if he wants to settle a bet, as to which God is real. And the real God is going to answer with fire. He's going to have his prophet get the altar ready, and watch the prophets of Baal get their altar ready. And they're going to put the wood and really carefully get the kindling right. And they're going get the little stuff at the bottom. They're going to douse it with what? Fuel. anything they can get that's flammable and combustible. Then they're going to pray wild, big, huge prayers. Leaping and whirling, so that their God will answer by fire. God's like, "I don't want to see any of that with you, bro. Elijah, here's what you're going to do. I want you just to get your stones, stack 'em together. And then I want you to throw the meat on top. Butcher the cows, great. Then we're going to dig a big trench. What's the trench for? It's going to collect all the water. Ah, yes. Because we're going to go for... wait, what? Oh, the water"? "Oh, yes. We're going to get barrel after barrel after barrel after barrel and drench this thing".

I don't know if you've ever built a fire. But one of the things, that lean not on your own understanding. I know we read these stories. I know you've heard of Gideon. Who's going to go fight 180,000 soldiers. And his army, which is like 1/100 of the size, keeps getting smaller. And Gideon's like, "There are only 300 of us now". God's like, "Perfect. I love these odds". And Gideon wet him his pants. OK? And I know you're like, "Levi, Levi, he didn't wear pants". OK, he wet his tunic. OK. The point is, it seemed crazy. It seemed foolish. So in every instance, and I could go 100 more, marching around the walls of Jericho, to bring it down. God almost always wets his wood before he starts a fire. So as you're following Him, there are going to be moments when in human understanding it doesn't work.

The way I wrote it down is, the sexiness wears off on a brand new commitment to follow God. Then these real moments happen. Where you said, I want to follow God this summer. I want to do this, this summer. Then the invites start coming. I want to honor God at work. Then they start talking about you behind your back. I want to do this thing for God. Then the reality of it sets in. Here's the problem. We all too often are focused on the product of faith. And we forget the process of faith. The process of faith is the messy middle. This is why people tap out. This is why people give up. This is why people don't get to see the greatness. Because in the middle, when it's uncomfortable, in the middle when they're meant to be metamorphosing into the butterfly, they short circuit the process. And they get out and they bolt because it's not easy and instantaneous.

This is why the book of Hebrews gives us such eye-opening faith when it tells us by faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. And what more shall I say? For time would fail to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the rest of the prophets. Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of sword, and out of weakness, became strong. They were made valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better Resurrection. Still others had trials of mocking, scourgings. Yes of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned. With rocks, not weed. They were sawn in two. They were tempted. I have to always qualify, it's 2022. They were slain. Well, the Bible said. They were slain with a sword. They wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, that's from the earth's perspective. How about from God's perspective, verse 38, of whom the world was not worthy?

Now, Hebrews 11 has a nickname. It's called the Hall of Faith. But when we actually read it, it's a lot of uncomfortable, a lot of I don't understand. A lot of pain. A lot of difficulty. When you're in the messy middle of faith, the easiest thing to do is to start giving directions to the potter. The Bible says God's the potter, we're the clay. How crazy would it be if the clay was like, "Hey, stop the wheel. Stop the wheel. What are you making out of me? What are you doing there, with that? Grabbing that sharp thing? I don't like that. Hey, how tall am I going to be? I saw a big pot last week. And it started". Then, when he grabs it and sticks it in the fire, "Hey! Hey! What are we doing there, pal"? Where it's like, God knows what He's creating in us. And He knows what it's going to take.

So what we have to choose to do is not lean or on our own understanding. This flies in the face of our culture. Which is living my truth, following my heart. How dare you tell me what I supposed to do or not do? The heart wants what a heart wants. But we have to also understand that Jeremiah 17 tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. And desperately wicked; who can know it? The Heart is tainted. That's not to say your heart only produces bad things. But the heart can be deceitful and tell lies. So it can cause you to want something that's not God's will. Jesus took it a step further and said in Matthew 15:19, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, and blasphemies. So we can end up listening to the voice of foolishness because she has an ally in our own hearts.

So our feelings must not be elevated above God. How we feel is an indicator, my friend Lysa Terkeurst likes to say, but should never be viewed as a dictator. And a lot of people just do what they feel. But it should be an indicator. We pay attention to what we're feeling. We ask questions of what we're feeling. We press that through the counsel of God's word. We get wise eyes on it, to pray for it with us. But we don't let our feelings be dictators. How many people have committed adultery, have taken a life, have stolen, have lied, all because it started with a good feeling in their heart? A feeling about what they wanted. So lean not on your own understanding. Or as Solomon's telling his son, don't quit and abort when something is gestating. Stay the course. Even and especially when it seems like it is crazy.

Then thirdly, and we're almost done here. Give God the glory no matter what. Give God the glory no matter what He does. Give God the glory. Acknowledge Him, in all your ways. If this really is the secret to success in life, and following God will really bring about blessings. And it often will. Now again, remember what we have when we read the Proverbs. These 800 of Solomon's 3,000 Proverbs are generally going to be true. Oftentimes, you put the financial practices of not being in debt, of working well, all these, being generous, your life's going to get bigger. You start honoring God, you start loving people, you show up every day. I mean, in this day and age, just showing up not blitzed out of your mind, with a work ethic, not being flippant, with your pants pulled up, I mean, it's just going to be amazing how quickly you are separated from the pack. But if you start doing the things in this book, if you start listening to the voice of wisdom, careful who your friends are.

Listening to the voice of wisdom. Careful with intoxicating substances. You're going to have some more success. What does it mean to acknowledge God, in all of your ways? Well, I believe first and foremost, if honoring God and following God brought us success or prosperity, we recognize him as the one who brought about that success. And we danced with the one who brought us. We don't do what God told us to do, get successful and then get an inflated ego about it. That's the Warning of Deuteronomy chapter 8 versus 10 through 18. You guys know that one, right?

"When you follow me and I bring you into the land, and I bless you like crazy, and I start blessing your family like crazy, and you're honoring me at work and I'm blessing the work of your hands like crazy? Now your field's blowing up. And now you've got all those plants you didn't plant, but they're thriving. You've got a house you didn't build, but you get to live in this house? And all of a sudden, all this stuff. You didn't save yourself. You didn't call yourself. You didn't deliver yourself from pharaoh. You didn't bring yourself across the Red Sea. You didn't feed yourself with manna for the 40 years in the wilderness. You didn't bring yourself across the mighty Jordan River by you stopping the water. I did all that for you, with an outstretched arm. I called you by my name. So now don't get into that land and start thinking you hung the moon. And start thinking you, you're the reason that you're so successful".

Keep your heart, Jennie called it this way, tethered, week two, in the abundance or in the scarcity, by your eyes being on Jesus. Acknowledge Him. Don't become forgetful with the blessings that He gave you, about who gave you the ability. Honor Jesus, in that talk you give, when you're accepting the award for how much you sold of real estate in the thing. Or the speech you're giving about the game-winning thing. Honor Jesus. Yes. But don't just honor Him in your big good days and your huge wins. Acknowledge Him in all your ways. Maybe it's even more important to acknowledge Jesus's presence and activity in your life when it's not going like you thought it would. Because yes, following these things will often bring success. That's what Proverbs says. Proverbs is a book on wisdom. But did you know that wisdom is not just a book in the Bible? It's a category in the Bible? And within the wisdom literature suite, there are some friends.

Friends like Ecclesiastes, that tells us, dude, this world's broken. At times, brokenness will come upon us all. Calamity will come upon us all. There's also Psalms. Which included within Psalm 73 is the Psalm that says God, why is it that the wicked person's prospering? Psalms 73 says, open your eyes and ask the question. Is he really prospering or does he just seem to prosper here and now? But zoom out and look at eternity. Zoom out and look at the big picture. That wicked person, who seems to prosper now, if you look at the big picture, they might be prospering for 80 years. But here you fool at the end of their life. So you might be jealous of someone who rightly should want what you have, which is peace that lasts forever.

Proverbs says, hey, do these things, success. Easy enough. Psalms says, problem. Sometimes the wickeds need to prosper. Oh, and then there's Job, also in wisdom literature, that says hey, sometimes unbeknownst to us all, the righteous are going to suffer calamity and disaster. Just FYI. Take the greatest, Godliest person that's ever lived, Job, that we know of at this time, that God's bragging about to the devil. That's how the story starts, when you read Job. It's like, "Dude, Job? Best guy ever". And Satan's like, "Yeah, but"... And the whole book consists of the Devil bringing difficulty against Job, that is because God delights in him. For whatever reason, God allowed it. But Job is here on earth, unaware of what happened in heaven, thinking why are bad things happening to me as I try to be a good person? That's going to happen to you as well.

What Solomon tells Rehoboam, and God's speaking to you today, is as you follow Him, you don't exactly know what the outcome is going to be. He'll direct your paths. There should be confidence in that. There should be a peace in that. The outcome is His job. Obedience is yours. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Don't lean on your own understanding. Regardless of what way he chooses to take you through it, and doors he opens and all the rest, just acknowledge him, in all your ways. Know him in all of your ways. Then let him take care of the results. When I was first starting this church, a pastor told me, Levi, if you take care of the depth of your devotions, God will take care of the scope and breadth of your impact. So just focus on keeping your eyes on Jesus. Focus on keeping your heart before him.

So today I say to you, there's going to come a moment when you're preparing to leave this world. As you look back on your life, if you trust God, with all of your heart, if you lean not on your own understanding, and if in all your ways you acknowledge Him, you will never regret that you did these three things. Now, we have to ask the question, where is Jesus, in all of this? That's a really important question to ask. I think it's especially important that I teach you to ask it in the Old Testament. Because he's a lot more visible in the new, where you see just red letters everywhere. But when you ask the question, where is Jesus in Proverbs Chapter 3, I hope you noticed and don't skip over it, that I drew your attention to the fact that it mentioned the Tree of Life. How crazy is it? Wisdom is personified. She is calling those who listen to her. And to avoid the voice of foolishness and sin and curse.

If you listen to me, this Tree of Life on the back end of this, why is that so noteworthy? Because the phrase, the Tree of Life. Look at it in a concordance. Google it. It only shows up 3 times in the entire Bible. Genesis, Revelation, and Proverbs 3. In Genesis, it's where Adam and Eve enjoyed the presence of God before sin. In Revelation, it's where we, in heaven, get once again uninterrupted access to the presence of God, because there's no sin. How do we get to that party? How do we make sure we're there? How do we know, Levi, that when we die we get to go to heaven? Because of the one who hung on a different tree. Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. Wisdom, personified, is a person. And His name is Jesus. In fact, 1 Corinthians tells us, specifically 1 Corinthians 1:24, that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Christ, the power and wisdom of God.

Colossians 2:3 puts it this way. In Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Solomon was onto something. Wisdom is a person. But what we find in the New Testament, is that person is Jesus. Where Solomon failed, I mean, all due credit, Solomon. A lot of great Proverbs. Looked at his life one time, train wreck. So you can know a ton of stuff but lives super bad. So our eyes are not on Solomon. And our marching orders this week are not, "Let's all go keep them Proverbs". Because what will that be? Train wreck. But Jesus perfectly lived out everything he taught. Because you and I are never going to measure up to the stature of the fullness of God that we're called to. He hung on that cross and He paid for your sins and He paid for mine. On the third day He rose from the dead, destroying the power of the grave. But also completely annihilating the enemy's claim on your life. The authority we have to believe for access to once again, the Tree of Life, is Jesus Christ, who hung on that tree for us. Amen, somebody?

So Father, we thank you. We thank you, for the thought of Jesus hanging there. As He does, He speaks. What is He saying? "Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do". It's beautiful to think of him choosing to use some of his last words on this earth to speak words of blessing to us. I pray for an answer to that prayer here and now. If you're here and you've never trusted Jesus for salvation, I want to give you space and time to act on it. To invite Him into your heart, to be your Savior, to be your Lord. This is how we get access to heaven. This is how we get eternal life; trusting, believing, not achieving. Not doing. But if you're here and you're ready to humbly fall down at His feet, trusting in the Lord with all of your heart. I want to pray a prayer. I'm going to ask for you to pray this prayer out loud after me, to God, meaning in your heart. Church, say it with us:

Dear God. I know that I'm a sinner. I'm broken. I can't fix myself. Thank you, God for sending Jesus to die for me, to speak out that voice of wisdom. To invite me to heaven by dying for me and rising from the dead. Today I put my faith into your hands, and invite you to be the King of my heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Now, with heads still bowed, eyes still closed. If you're here and you made that decision, every location, church online, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, as this message goes out, if this is your day of salvation, if this is your moment of trust in Christ, for eternal life, I'm going to count to 3. And I want you to shoot your hands up in the air. You're saying this is me, this is real. I'm nailing this, down here and now. One, two, three. Shoot your hands up. Shoot your hands up. Every location. God sees you. He loves you. He cares for you. You can put your hands down. Let's pray one more time. I want to give space and time for us, as the church, to respond to this message. Maybe it's the trusting Him again that's been hard for you. Maybe today it's the not leaning on your understanding. You're reverting back to human wisdom.

When you look at the bills, when you look at the calling, when you look at the choice to tithe, when you look at the choice to serve, whatever it is. Maybe there's some part of this message that you feel stuck on. Acknowledging Him in all your ways. Maybe God is nudging you, that you perhaps have started to read your own press a little bit, forgetting Him in what he has done for you. All of us have something that God is seeking to work on, so that he can bring us out of that cocoon as the butterfly we were meant to be, and then transform us into an eagle. I know we're mixing metaphors here. But as we're praying, if you would say, Levi, I hear the Holy Spirit communicating to me, can I just ask that you just raise up a hand? Just being honest enough to God, to say: I need your help today. I need your strength today. There's some specific assignment. And I'm saying, I hear you.

Father, I pray you bless these whose hands are raised. I pray that even now as you minister in their home, listening to this, driving in their car, hearing these worship experiences, I pray that your peace would flood into their heart, resolve would flood into their lives. I pray you strengthen their arms. I pray your anointing oil would be placed upon their heads, you're crowning them with goodness. You're crowning them with mercy. I believe, God, that even as they respond to you, in humility now, there's a strength in it. There's a power in it. There's a grace in it. I pray you would shine your love on them, and on all of us, we pray, in Jesus' name.

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