Daily Wisdom 245: Proverbs 11:29

Proverbs 11:29 (NKJV) — 29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

The danger of troubling one’s own house. Those persons who do things that trouble their own family are courting disaster. They will gain nothing of substance; they will be left grasping the air. The first place Christianity must be demonstrated is in the home. Wise people will be promoted; fools will be demoted.

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Daily Wisdom 244: Proverbs 11:28

Proverbs 11:28 (NKJV) — 28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.

The wrong attitude toward money. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Where is my trust?” The person who trusts in money will certainly fall. A person does not need to have money in order to trust in it. If people think money would solve their problems if they had it, they are trusting in money. Those who are overcome with fear, worry, and doubt because of the loss of a job or a bad economy demonstrate that their trust is in money.

Mark 10:24 (NKJV) — 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!

Regardless of economic trends or personal fortunes, righteous people will flourish in the same way that a branch flourishes. In other words, they recognize they are not their own source of life and strength, for a branch depends solely on the vine for life.

John 15:4–5 (NKJV) — 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Those who are righteous worry no more than a branch worries. Their responsibility is not to originate life or fruitfulness but to simply let the life of the vine flow through them.

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The Holy Spirit in Romans 8:18-27

I am scheduled to teach an adult elective class tomorrow at The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Mitchell Bland is pastor. The plan is to examine references to the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:18-27 as found in my book The Holy Spirit: A Commentary. I am posting the handout here. It is an excerpt from the book, which is available at pentecostalpublishing.com. I also plan to post the video of the class session at least by Monday, January 4, 2021.


The Holy Spirit in Romans 8:18-27

January 3, 2021

[1] According to Romans 8:23, not only does creation, apart from human beings, groan in anticipation of the revelation of the sons of God; so do those people who have experienced the new birth. We believers “groan within ourselves” as we eagerly await the ultimate and final manifestation of our redemption: the redemption of our body, the material person. (See Romans 8:19, 21.) This event is “adoption.” This does not suggest believers are not yet adopted. In a very real sense, adoption occurs upon the reception of the Holy Spirit. (See Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:5-7; Ephesians 1:5.) But just as we are already redeemed, yet we anticipate the final work of redemption, so although we are already adopted, we eagerly await adoption’s final accomplishment. This may be spoken of as the “already, but not yet” aspect of redemption. There is a sense in which we are already redeemed; there is a sense in which our redemption has not yet occurred. Prior to the return of the Lord, the inner man is redeemed. At His coming, the outer man will be redeemed as well. This is further seen in that what believers now experience is the “firstfruits of the Spirit.” This indicates a greater and final work of the Spirit is to follow.

[2] Suffering believers receive help from the indwelling Holy Spirit with their weaknesses (Romans 8:26). They are not expected to maintain hope on the basis of sheer determination alone (Romans 8:25.) In many of the painful circumstances believers face as they await the redemption of their bodies (Romans 8:23), they are unsure even as to how they ought to pray. It is at times like these that “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Paul described the creation (Romans 8:22), the believer (Romans 8:23), and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26) as groaning. Contextually, the cause of the groaning is the painful influence of sin on all of creation, including human beings. The Spirit’s identification with the believer is so intimate and intense that He groans in empathy with the believer’s weaknesses. This verse does not remove the believer’s responsibility to pray intelligent prayer when the situation is such that he knows how he should pray, but it holds out the promise that in these situations beyond the believer’s ability to comprehend, the Holy Spirit intervenes.

[3] This is probably not a reference to praying with tongues, although praying with tongues is a valid exercise. (See I Corinthians 14:2, 14-15.) In this case, the intercession of the Spirit is made “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The tongues, or languages, with which one speaks by the influence of the Holy Spirit are genuine, intelligent words, not groanings. They are words which can be uttered (Acts 2:4). The reference here is to those situations where the difficulty is so overwhelming and the solution so elusive that the believer is helpless to make any progress in prayer. He is not to despair, however, for the Holy Spirit is fully aware of the believer’s needs, and He intercedes on behalf of the suffering believer.

[4] It is God who searches the human heart (Romans 8:27; see also I Samuel 16:7; I Kings 8:39; I Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 17:3; 139:1; Hebrews 4:13). God knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit’s intercession on behalf of the suffering believers is “according to the will of God.” The fact that when the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the believer, He does it “according to the will of God” underscores the fact that when the believer is able to pray intelligently, he must pray according to the will of God. All of God’s works are done according to His will. God is sovereign; He knows what is best in every situation. Believers must always pray for the will of God to be done.[1] To assume to know what is best in a given situation, and to attempt to order God to act according to one’s own opinion, is the height of presumption.

[1] See Matthew 6:10; 26:42; Romans 1:10; James 4:15; I John 5:14.

(c) 2021 by Daniel L. Segraves

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Daily Wisdom 243: Proverbs 11:27

Proverbs 11:27 (NKJV) — 27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.

Why good things happen to good people. A person who sincerely and diligently seeks to do right will find favor with God and humans, but if a person is intent on evil, it will come back to him. This verse states another form of the law of sowing and reaping. Every deed is a seed that will potentially produce a harvest.


Special note: This proverb does not guarantee that those who seek good will never suffer. If you have questions about this, you may want to see my book If God Loves Me, Why Am I Hurting? The book is available at pentecostalpublishing.com and as a Kindle download from Amazon. It is also available as an Apple Book.

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Stories from my life: My call to preach the gospel

As I share vignettes from my life, they will not all be in chronological order. Since this is the last day of 2020, which seemed for many people to be a very long year, and what we hope is a bright new year begins in about six hours, I think it is the perfect time to tell the story of a major turning point in my life.

I was sixteen years old, and I had life figured out. Or so I thought. I had been working since I was thirteen in what we called a supermarket in Kennett, Missouri. Walsh’s Big Star was really just a rather small grocery store. With only a brief break during my four high school years, I earned fifty cents an hour on this job every week of each year. During the summer months, I worked as much as sixty-four hours per week for thirty-two dollars.

Two of the married men with whom I worked, Joe Cook and Vernon Davidson, were members of the church I attended. My father, Glen Segraves, was our pastor. My grandfather, L. D. Segraves, had been pastor of the church before him.

Joe and Vernon and I saw each other almost every day and had lots of opportunities to talk. Such talk among young married men and a high school student could be expected to touch occasionally on our big plans for the future.

I played the trumpet and stand-up bass in our church band. Joe invited me to join him and Glen Helton to form a gospel bluegrass trio. Glen played the banjo and mandolin. Joe played the guitar. Trumpets don’t belong in bluegrass. I played the bass. We sang songs like “I’m Using My Bible for a Roadmap.”

Vernon and I talked about plans to move to Chicago and open our own grocery store. That never happened, but Vernon stayed in the grocery business for many years. I was serious about the idea, though, and took classes in my final year of high school to prepare for that kind of career.

But when I was sixteen, something happened that sent me down a different path. Our church was participating in a twenty-four-hour prayer chain. Here’s how it worked: Each participant selected an hour of the day to come to the church building and pray. Upon arrival, the person with the previous hour would leave, and the next hour would be filled by the newcomer until his replacement arrived. I selected a nighttime hour. I think it was one or two a.m.

Some people are curious about how a person is “called” to preach. Here’s all I can say: At some time during this prayer meeting, my heart was changed. I was no longer interested in a business career. God gave me a desire to preach the gospel.

As I reflect on this, it is quite interesting that my father and I had never discussed the possibility that I would become a preacher. My dad’s father was also a preacher. He died when I was twelve years old. I had never talked with him about preaching. But now I felt that was what I wanted to do.

I think it was the next day that I told my father, “I believe God has called me to preach!” Dad said, “Wonderful! You can preach next Wednesday night!”

As I stepped into the pulpit for that first attempt to exercise my calling, Alma Harper, a spiritually gifted woman who often exercised the gifts of tongues and the interpretation of tongues, used those gifts in confirmation of my call.

I stayed in the pulpit for fifteen minutes. The title of my sermon was “Journey through the Halls of Hell.” I didn’t know what I was talking about. I can’t remember anyone coming to pray at the altar.

Not long afterward, my father asked, “Son, where did you get that message?”

“There’s a book of sermon outlines in your library. That’s where I got it,” I answered.

“Don’t get your sermons out of books. Get them from the Bible,” Dad said.

Now I’m seventy-four years old. I’ve been attempting to follow Dad’s advice for many years now.

(c) 2020 by Daniel L. Segraves

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Daily Wisdom 242: Proverbs 11:26

Proverbs 11:26 (NKJV) — 26 The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

Free enterprise. The Bible endorses the concept of free enterprise and private ownership. The commandment “Thou shalt not steal” would have no meaning if there were no private property. However, enterprise should be conducted according to basic rules, not by unrestrained greed. Those who withhold basic necessities from the marketplace in hopes of creating a shortage and thus increasing price and profits will be cursed by the people. Merchants who freely sell necessities at a just price will prosper. This admonition particularly applies to people who are engaged in providing goods or services basic to human life.

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Daily Wisdom 241: Proverbs 11:24-25

Proverbs 11:24–25 (NKJV) — 24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. 25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.

The key to plenty. Generosity produces plenty. There is an eternal law that works regardless of economic policy or conditions. Giving produces a return, just as planting produces a harvest. (See Malachi 3:10-12; Luke 6:38; II Corinthians 9:6-7.) Stinginess produces poverty.

It is helpful to think of money or other goods as seed. This analogy certainly does not mean money is to be thrown to the winds in a careless, thoughtless fashion. Rather, it should be sown carefully in good ground. Christians should be just as concerned about the integrity of the ministry in which they invest as farmers are about the condition of the field in which they plant. Those who give directly to those who are genuinely in need have planted seed in good soil.

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Stories from my life

I would have appreciated knowing more about my parents’ histories earlier in my life. It would also have been good to know more about my grandparents on both sides of my family.

During my mother’s final years, she shared with me stories of events in her life I had never before heard. My father died about seventeen years before Mom, and some of the things she told me fleshed out events in his life.

It occurred to me this morning that I could, and probably should, take advantage of today’s technology and snippets of time to record some of my life stories for the sake of my family and others who may be interested. Susan and I visited recently with my son, Mark, his wife, Robin, and their daughter, Christiana. As we shared amusing events from our collective memories, it was obvious that they were new to my granddaughter.

So, I plan to commit some of my life stories to memory here. I don’t know how often I will do so, and I’m sure the conversations I recall will not be verbatim. I will attempt, however, to represent the past with accuracy.

With the next post, I will tell the story of my call to preach the gospel.

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Daily Wisdom 240: Proverbs 11:23

Proverbs 11:23 (NKJV) — 23 The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Right and wrong desires. The righteous person wants only what is good. But the wicked person has wrong values, wrong goals, wrong desires. The wicked person’s future is tainted by his character. He does not care if a thing is good or not; he wants what he wants.

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