Sunday, October 31, 2010
Many of you know that our house used to have a bakery attached. When we moved in to our house some of our older neighbors told us they remembered when it was opened and the neighborhood had the wonderful aroma of Polish Bread. Years had not been kind to our house and the attached bakery section needed a new roof. Pastor John and I needed to do it ourselves because there was no way we could afford to hire someone. It was October and an Indian Summer (good weather that could end anytime). We didn't have long to get it finished before the weather changed and our insurance company ran out of patience. The boys were in school...and I was trying to help my husband during the day and take care of the boys when they got home. One day as we came down for a lunch break...I looked awful...had gook all over me from the roof...my face was smudged....my hair a mess....yet John looked at me and said...you are a Proverbs 31 woman. I was embarrassed. My thoughts immediately went to the thought that I'm not organized like the Proverbs 31 woman is described. I'm not good at crafty things. I would never make the housekeeper of the year award. Yet my husband said that of me. I realized that what he appreciated was my willingness to help him with a project that was hard for me and my determination not to give up. A wife that loves her husband, works hard and has his trust is truly a Proverbs 31 woman.
10 b]">[b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life
Whether you are a husband or a wife, a man or a woman God wants to build within you the ability to be trusted by others. Your skill set may not be the same as someone elses....but trust is a great thing.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I am weary, O God;
I am weary and worn out, O God.b]">[b]
2 I am too stupid to be human,
and I lack common sense.
3 I have not mastered human wisdom,
nor do I know the Holy One.
Chapter 30 introduces a different author. Agur may have some good things to say but I want to prefix our reading with his opening remarks. Some see Agur as humbly admitting his need for God's wisdom. They rightly say that we all must humbly seek God's guidance and not do things on our own. While others see him as showing that he was not a person in proper relationship with God. If we love God and have sought His wisdom we shouldn't say we are stupid or that we lack common sense. If we have been seeking God then we are developing the wisdom of God. We all should be continual learners, and surely we should all realize that we are in the process of knowing the Holy One. However, if we have formed a relationship with the Lord we don't say...." I don't know Him" We don't know everything there is to know about him but we are in the process of knowing Him.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
6 Do not add to his words,
or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
A shield covers the body or a part of the body. It is a protection from the enemy at all times. We don't always realize the times that God protects us in our life. Lately..I've pondered this sometimes in not such a good way. Wondering why this and why that. Yet God brings me back time and time again to His love for His children and the fact that we don't know all things...He does. There are dangers of the enemy that we would never think about or even realize that He shields us from without us even knowing. It is like a parent who shields their kids from the pressures of life, from arguments, from the strength of financial needs, from a myriad of things. Parents concentrate on teaching their children things appropriate for their age that help keep them from danger and they (the parents) take care of the rest. Sometimes children wonder about these adult things...but they are not yet ready to take on those responsibilities. In the same way God's protection is beyond all that we know or understand.
Friday, October 29, 2010
2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.
But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
4 A just king gives stability to his nation,
but one who demands bribes destroys it.
12 If a ruler pays attention to liars,
all his advisers will be wicked.
14 If a king judges the poor fairly,
his throne will last forever.
16 When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes,
but the godly will live to see their downfall.
26 Many seek the ruler’s favor,
but justice comes from the Lord.
Yesterdays chapter said this
When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.
But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
1 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them,
but the godly are as bold as lions.
Why would this be true? The wicked know that they are doing wrong and that they might be found out someday. They live looking over their shoulder waiting for the consequences of their deeds to be found out. Perhaps there has been a time in your life that you knew you did something wrong and much of your time was spent wondering when someone was going to find out. It is not a fun state to live in. Confession and repentance frees us from that kind of life. Those who live godly lives don't have to fear being found out by anyone. Those who live godly lives don't have to fear being found out by anyone. A person who is free from fear can be as bold as a lion.
2 When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.
But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
Leaders of a nation bring stability. Obviously that has to do with restoring godly morality to the nation. A nation whose morals decline are in danger of coming to the point of being overthrown. They may have large armies and pride but that won't stop disaster from falling upon them. Pray for wise leaders. Vote for wise and godly leaders.
27 Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing,
but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.
"Those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed" How does one close their eyes to something. We live in a society where we hear about disaster after disaster on TV. We see poverty on our streets and on the screen. Sometimes it all becomes blurred. There is a line in the Word. The Word expects people to work and use money correctly. God is asking that we open our eyes to our own world. When we see poverty we are to help. We don't have to have fanfare we just are to make a difference. Helping can come in all sorts of packages. We may be inundated with all sorts of pulls. One ministry does this and another that....they all need help to help those in need. The pull can make it hard to know what to do. Remember the Holy Spirit lives inside and He will direct you to where to sow and individuals in your own area to help. The only requirement is to open your eyes and care about those in need.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Experiencing the Wisdom of God Through Proverbs Day 27 Don't Toot Your Own Horn...Appreicate others.
a stranger, not your own lips.
We've all had the unpleasant experience of listening to someone touting their good deeds and their abilities to all who will listen. I don't mean a simple recounting of events...I mean a constant and elaborate retelling that is obviously overboard. Many times in doing the telling a person ignores others or even makes fun of the efforts of others. Here wisdom tells us in effect, "Don't toot your own horn." It is often obvious that the person is insecure despite the outward appearance of blustery confidence. Unwittingly they become the object of scorn or people consciously trying to avoid them. You may find yourself in this category as you take inventory of your words. Stopping the behavior is good...but also taking great time and care to understand your value in Christ ( a great way is by doing a study of the phrase in Christ) is essential.
On the other hand our society has lost sight of the idea of being thankful to the people that matter in our lives. We take things for granted and rarely tell someone what they mean to us. Many times we are so much into our self and our own circumstances that the second half of the verse becomes a low priority. We should all look for opportunities to genuinely complement others in our life. Has someone in a retail store been especially helpful to you? Tell the manager how much you appreciate the person (of course tell them too). Do you have friends who have stuck with you in hard times....think back...have you told them about how thankful you are for their love? When my boys were little I used to tell the boys in front of my husband things like, "Did you see how sweet Daddy was to Mommy today...he...." They loved it and Pastor John loved it too. Purpose to be thankful out loud. Let the people in your life know without a shadow of a doubt that you are thankful and appreciative of all they do.
Take 3 steps today.
Step one: Don't tout what you did today to others. Even if you moved the world so to speak.
Step two: Make an concentrated effort to let those who have been instrumental in your life know what you appreciate about them. Don't just say thank you. Make a list of specific things you are thankful for and tell them about it somehow. You could write a letter, email them, give them a call or tell them face to face.
Step three: Notice something good about someone whom you may not know well but nonetheless effected you because of their kindness. The other day a lady at a service center...smiled and said today is such a nice day outside....enjoy. Somehow she really cheered my day.
There are a lot of wonderful verses in chapter 27 I'm believing Holy Spirit is going to be faithful to speak a wonderful word to you today.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
4 Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or you will become as foolish as they are.
5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or they will become wise in their own estimation.
Ever hear of a conundrum? Verse 4 and 5 are sort of like that...a dilemma of sorts. To answer a fool in his foolishness may take you to their level if you are not careful, but on the other hand sometimes if you don't answer a fool they think they are right and are not challenged to seek the Lord. See Bible Tools The Holy Spirit can let us know when to speak and when to close our mouth. He is the all wise God. We don't have to depend upon human wisdom we have access to heavenly wisdom and revelation. These verses are an encouragement if you think about it. They acknowledge that we don't always have all the answers...we really have to rely upon God in our everyday life. Knowledge knows the facts but only God's Wisdom knows what to do with that knowledge for the best outcome. Chapter 26 powerfully talks about fools verses wise. One thing it says is , "12 There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise." When a person thinks they are wise and right all of the time..they don't understand there need to seek God in the time of trouble.
0 Fire goes out without wood,
and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
Recently I was at a store. I saw an example of an employee gossiping to co-workers about his leadership and other workers. He didn't have a word of uplift to share with anybody. When someone is a gossip they hurt an entire organization. Gossips keep fights and quarrels going in any organization. When a gossip is stopped ....quarrels stop. Listen really listen to yourself. Do you fall into the trap of gossip. do you gossip or do you listen to gossip. Stop it now. God is not pleased and it causes decention.
Monday, October 25, 2010
is as harmful as hitting them with an ax,
wounding them with a sword,
or shooting them with a sharp arrow.
The old saying "sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me" has a lot of holes in it. Truthfully words do hurt. The words may not physically hurt a person at the time they are said, but nonetheless they can be very harmful. Think about it right now. Think of a time you've been lied about in your life. How has that felt? Being lied about, the Word tells us, is as harmful as being physically hurt. I know that to be true. Lies are told to avoid being responsible for our own actions. We'd rather blame someone else than take consequences for our own actions. Lies are told to avoid being found out by those we love or those who are in authority over us. Lies are told sometimes to purposely hurt others. God tells us that lying is something God hates....and all liars will have their part in hell. Don't lie the Word tells us. It hurts those whom you are lying about and it hurts your reputation once you are found out to me a liar.
19 Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble
is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.
Yuck. Tooth pain and a lame foot. Two things that are very painful. Things that cause your whole body to be off. It is amazing how little members of the body can cause pain to the whole body. Have you ever had a bad tooth ache and tried to eat on the other side of your mouth but accidentally forgot and ended up screeching in pain? When a foot hurts you usually end up with your mobility being very limited. That is just like when we put our confidence in a person who is not reliable. The disappointment goes deep. When we are going through times of trouble God wants us to have reliable people around us. People who don't easily give up on friendship. People who are not ready to run when things are tough. People who will be willing to work through issues that matter. God is always reliable...He never fails...and He can lead us to friendships that will be a strength at all times.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
10 If you fail under pressure,
your strength is too small. NLT
10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
Your strength is small. NKJV
There are some Scriptures that you might at times wish weren't in the Bible. No one likes pressure. Pastor John and I were just talking to someone about how the pressures of life can make you wonder why things can't be more smooth sailing. Maybe you've heard news that is troubling. Maybe you are going through things that are hard and frustrating. I won't cover up the fact that there are times where I feel in the flesh like giving up, but I know that God has a good plan for us. Giving up would be to forfeit that plan. It is easy to have faith when things are going well because there is no testing. The New King James says, "If you faint in the day of adversity...." Adversity is a time when our life is not going as we might plan. There are trials on our path and the way is not smooth sailing. Recently...my desire was to take a minute to feel a little sorry for myself and my circumstances. Unfortunately....or maybe I should say thankfully that wasn't to be. I read of our missionary friend in Haiti who is living in his storage shed. I attended a conference with a friend that reminded me that life is not always a bowl of cherries, but He never leaves us alone. We can rejoice in His presence! God does not leave us in our mess when we call out to Him. We may have to go through a time where our trust is in Him not the outward situation. Are you up for that reality? Next time giving up seems like the option remember this Scripture. Don't allow your faith to be small.
We don't deny hard times or the pressures of life. However faith says that God has a plan if we will listen to His voice. He will bring us through.
What situations are you going through that might tempt you to give up?
What things have helped you to trust in Jesus in your situation?
Saturday, October 23, 2010
15 My child,d]">[d] if your heart is wise,
my own heart will rejoice!
16 Everything in me will celebrate
when you speak what is right
Think about your life. Have you ever given cause for those who love you to have concern? Most of us will readily admit that their have been times when we've caused some worry to our loved ones. We don't live unto ourselves in this world though sometimes we might wish we did. The truth is not only do our actions affect those whom we may negatively influence....they also affect those who love us and are wanting us to walk in Godly wisdom. When we listen to the voice of God and walk in good things we actually are a cause of celebration to our loved ones. Think about that a minute. Our choices can cause celebration or concern. It doesn't matter how old or young you are...God wants us to remember we are connected. We all want our kids and those we love to do well...we want to be able to celebrate each other.
Life Long Learning
12 Commit yourself to instruction;
listen carefully to words of knowledge.
Commitment is a word with a bang. To commit is to agree to do something consistently. Many of us want to better ourselves and to obey the Lord, but that word commitment gets hard to do. It is not just a sermonett. Commitment requires daily discipline to follow through on what we've promised to do. If you've been reading your chapter in Proverbs everyday you have been participating in an exercise of commitment. All through our life we want to be learners. That only happens with concentrated effort and commitment.
What are you doing to increase in the knowledge of the Lord?
What are you doing to increase in knowledge concerning your job, your family, your church, or other things of interest to you?
Friday, October 22, 2010
1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold. NKJV
1 Choose a good reputation over great riches;
being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.
When people speak about you what do they say? Sure I know there are gossips and judgmental people that have nothing good to say about anyone, but what do everyday people say about you as a person? What sort of legacy are you establishing with your life? What are some ways to have a good name? When we allow the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our life we learn to care about others. Things like respecting and having empathy for the feelings and rights of others, being timely, paying our bills, keeping our word, being honest, being willing to admit when we are wrong, are all steps to establishing a good name. Take a minute to really think about this. Grab your notebook and let Holy Spirit speak to you about how you can establish a good name that will honor Father God. What kind of legacy are you leaving?
Climbing the Ladder
8 Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster,
and their reign of terror will come to an end.
Some people get ahead by stepping on others through injustice. They feel like the business world or their personal life requires them to do things that dishonor others in order to meet their goals. They don't care what happens in the wake of their words and actions. Have you ever wondered why injustice seems to prosper? If you have you are not alone...the Psalmist wrote..."Why do the wicked prosper"? I'm glad that both in the Psalms and here in Proverbs God makes it clear that those who are unjust will not prosper in the end. God will bring all of that to ruin. They will reap what they have sown.
28 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers
set up by previous generations.
Years ago one of my Aunt's and Uncle had a boundary dispute with their neighbor. It ended up that they had to have the town come to do an assessment. Some folks might think God doesn't care about such things...but here we see that boundaries are important and need to be honored. We need to always be respectful. If you buy a house always know where your boundaries are....and if you rent it is also a good idea to know the boundaries so you don't overstep.
What verse stood out to you as you read today?
What action steps do you need to make today?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
26 Some people are always greedy for more,
but the godly love to give!
Take a few minutes...yes right now... and think about how you can give of yourself to someone else. It may cost you something....time, money or maybe a little sacrifice. God desires to bless His children and one sure way is for us to learn the joy of giving. When our heart truly loves to give for the gospel sake, for the good of others, and from the heart that is when we are really in line to be blessed. That blessing can be financial...but blessing is so much more that alone. Jesus always went about giving of Himself. Loving to give is not about obligation...it is much better than that sort of thing. When we come to Christ we are given His nature and if we nurture that desire to be more like Jesus we can't help but learn to love to give. You can start out small. Pastor John and I love to give. We don't advertise what we do for others but it is such a blessing to us. Think about it today. Did you think of something yet? Be sure and implement it today!
25 Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin,
for their hands refuse to work.
I'm amazed at the number of verses about laziness in Proverbs. Paul in the New Testament tells us that if a person refuses to work he doesn't eat. God doesn't judge a person by his wealth...but he does see and judge what we do with the gifting He gives us. Sometimes we are waiting on God to provide a need and that is promised in the word. We must remember that one of the ways God provides is through giving us the ability to work. Your talent isn't by accident. So get up and accomplish something today...and do it with all your heart as unto the Lord.
Don't spend everything
20 The wise have wealth and luxury,
but fools spend whatever they get.
Are you spending every dime you make? Don't despair....determine to save some. Yeah I know you may have debt up to your ears. Many Americans do. This verse hit me sometime ago. Remember I told you that one of the ideas for studying Proverbs can be to study subjects. You've noticed that a main topic is foolish verses wise. Well maybe you've felt pretty good because you've been in the wise category everytime it's mentioned....well until now. Even if you just save a little bit...you are obeying God and if you are diligent that amount will increase. Hey everyone can start out with at least saving $5 a month. It doesn't seem like much...but it is obedience to the word...a declaration,if you will, that you are not going to be in the foolish category. It all adds up. Are you up to the challenge?
What verses did the Holy Spirit talk to you about today?
What action steps have you begun to take since reading Proverbs?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, "
9 No one can say, "I am innocent;
I have never done anything wrong." NCV
Sometimes we all need to be reminded that everyone has sinned. There are instances where we are the "innocent party", but the truth is everyone has fallen short of the glory of God. Stop and think about that right now. Do you currently have a situation in your everyday life that relates to this truth? Is there something God has wanted to deal with you about, but you've refused to admit even to yourself that you've been in the wrong? Do you need to admit your sin and repent? Is there a situation with someone in your everyday life where you've refused to listen to someone else's perspective to the point you've maintained you are right and they are totally wrong? If so it is entirely possible that you are missing something through self-righteousness. There are times where we have to stand fast because of righteousness, but even then we must guard our attitudes. When we keep in mind that we've all sinned and our righteousness comes through the blood of Jesus we are more likely to refrain from allowing ourselves the "luxury" of putting the blame on everyone else while avoiding examining our own heart.
1 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls.
Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. NLT
Alcohol and drugs may seem to bring pleasure...but they produce harm to a persons life and that of their family members. People wake up one day to realize that they've wasted their lives and hurt the ones they love. That is not wisdom and it produces only pain and hard-ache. There are many snared by this problem. Thank Father God for His ability to bring deliverance to those who ask in Jesus Name. The last statement in the Proverb puts God's heart in perspective...."they cannot be wise"....Father God wants them to have freedom from drink because if they are not free they can never really act in wisdom.
Here are a few more verses I'd like to highlight. What are some verses in Chapter 20 that spoke to you as you read today.
11 Even children are known by the way they act,
whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. NLT
7 The godly walk with integrity;
blessed are their children who follow them.
10 False weights and unequal measuresa]">[a]—
the Lord detests double standards of every kind.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
18 Discipline your children while there is hope.
Otherwise you will ruin their lives.
This could be ripped from the modern headlines. Children are undone, on drugs, disrespectful of authority, unable to get along socially, all because they are not disciplined (taught) in the home. The Bible is clear that the role of a parent is so important. Entitlement and refusal to set boundaries while the "modern" wisdom in the end turns to ruin. When I look back over the childhood of my boys I readily can see mistakes that we made as parents...hindsight is 20/20. Yet I do know that Pastor John and I did our best to love them and bring godly discipline (teaching) into their lives. The boys worked each summer in a youth to work program in their teen years. One year my eldest son came home from work each day the first week with tales of another teen in the program getting let go. I asked him what was going on...his reply was revealing. The youths were being let go for two reasons. They didn't listen to instruction and they didn't complete their task. Thankfully our boys didn't share the same fate as their counterparts because they understood the value of instruction and completing their work. Training is not always fun for parent or child but it is necessary to properly grow to maturity. That's not to say there will not be problems as they grow into adulthood...but they will remember their upbringing and come back to it.
8 To acquire wisdom is to love oneself;
people who cherish understanding will prosper.
This verse brings me back to the opening chapters of Proverbs where wisdom cries out to be acknowledged and listen to in our everyday life. Wisdom is more than knowledge...it is the ability to use knowledge correctly. We should never think that our learning is completed. To continue to learn from God through His word, through our experiences, and through godly advice will keep our life on the right path. Today as I remembered a situation I've been praying about for some time...I couldn't help but give God thanks for good outcomes to prayer. Good outcomes sometimes require walking in the wisdom of God in dealing people and events. I thank God that He helped me to listen to Him and walk in wisdom. Which brings me to the next verse on my list.
Responsible for our actions
3 People ruin their lives by their own foolishness
and then are angry at the Lord.
Sometimes we get ourselves into messes that cause pain and hurt. We might be tempted to be angry upset with the Lord. Many times if we are honest we have to admit that we've not listened to the voice of God and we've walked our own way. Actions always have consequences. In the midst of our mess it is easy to think God abandoned us, or didn't lead us or help us as He should have done. Yet if we will be honest we'd admit we've made choices that simply have bad consequences. God's grace is available to help us even in these times. There are other times when we are in the will of God and trouble comes...it is those times that we have to stand firm. Always evaluate....always ask God and be willing to follow His lead from where you are today. Are you reaping consequences because of choices? Don't despair. Start your journey of obedience today...seek wisdom and forsake foolishness...allow God to bring you out. Don't blame Him....obey Him and see the salvation of the Lord.
What choices are you making today? Are they inline with the wisdom of God?
What verse or verses spoke to you from Chapter 19?
Monday, October 18, 2010
Listening to others
2 Fools have no interest in understanding;
they only want to air their own opinions.
Sometimes we hold on to our position to such a degree that we can't see someone else's point of view. I'm certainly not talking about condoning sin....but simply seeking to understand. We can't minister to someone whom we refuse to listen to or endeavor to understand. Is it possible that there are people in your everyday life that you really don't understand because of preconceived ideas or suppositions that you hold? Some years ago I was on an abortion debate message board. While I certainly kept my pro-life position I nonetheless through discussion began to see the plight of many women in our country and in the world. I saw somethings that were excuses but other things that were opportunities to minister in the lives of women. In the end some women I talked too...said, "we know you care about us." That never would have happened if we (I wasn't the only Christian on the board) refused to listen. The experience forever changed my thinking. It was an everyday challenge. We were able to maintain our pro-life position and show love and understanding. I began to care about the women that felt they have no choice. Admittedly it is difficult to listen when your mind cries out to express itself.
Do you dare to ask the Holy Spirit if there are areas and subjects that you've refused to listen to someone elses point of view?
13 Spouting off before listening to the facts
is both shameful and foolish.
Been there done that. If you are like most people just reading this verse brings back memories of a time where this was true of your response. Thankfully we don't have to stay in that rut. It is easy to have a little information and run with it instead of being patient enough to hear the whole story. Easy in this case though isn't good. It can harm relationships and make you wish that you could do it all over again. Here is one more verse that brings the truth home.
17 The first to speak in court sounds right—
until the cross-examination begins.
What verses popped out at you as you read Proverbs 18 today?
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Lord test the heart. Think about that a minute. Fire brings the impurities of silver and gold to the surface...and likewise God has ways to test our heart that surely bring our impurities to the forefront of our lives where we are confronted with the truth. It can be scary to allow God to show us what is inside, yet if we realize that Holy Spirit wants to bring us to a place of being conformed to the image of Jesus and He has our best interest at heart we are comforted. Indeed we desire those impurities to be removed from our lives. This verse reminds me of a faithful verse that I read often.
Psalm 139:23-24 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life NLT
Don't be sucked in by temptation
8 A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper! NLT
What? I can't believe that verse says that...it can't mean that...can it??? Wow. When I read this it floored me. It is not the first time I've read Proverbs but it is the first time I've "seen" it presented this way. Though I didn't highlight one of them I've already read Proverbs that say bribes are bad...something I already know anyway. So what is up with this? I'm tempted to pretend I didn't see it. Can't do that successfully though..it would bug me too much and what if someone ask me about it later. A look at other versions shows the word translated "gift" many use the word bribe. So which is it. Some study shows that it is a satire about how people are drawn into bribes for the gift and definitely is not advocating bribes. Thank God...mystery solved.
Here are a few more verses that were interesting to me.
15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— both are detestable to the Lord. NLT
17 A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. NLT
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. NLT
27 A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. NLT
What verse or verses did Holy Spirit talk to you about today?
Saturday, October 16, 2010
9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
When my eldest son Al was little one of his favorite sentences was, "I've got a plan." I used to chuckle to myself and wonder what he would say next. He often had some pretty good plans and it was so cute to hear them from a little fella. When we read the whole of the Bible we see that God is not against plans or planning. He just wants us to realize that our plans need to be in line with His will to succeed. Verse 3 tells us to commit our plans to the Lord and verse 1 lets us know that God has the right answer in all circumstances. I'm convinced that sometimes this is hard because we hold so tightly to "our plan" that we have trouble hearing what God is saying. Realizing that when we allow God to examine even good plans means He might tell us to change pieces of it can be unsettling if we forget that He always has our best in mind. In planning we must remember that Father God may interrupt or change our plans. He always has our best in mind. God is in control of our steps or our providence. Sometimes one of little Al's plans would be something that we could implement , but sometimes we'd have to change it a little for safety sake. Even as a child it was evident that he was going to be like his daddy in someways. One of the things I love about Pastor John is his ability to access a situation and come up with a plan.
Is it easy or hard for you to commit your plans to God?
What are some ways the Lord speaks to you about the plans you are making or the plans He has for you?
Here are a few more verses that stood out to me.
28 A troublemaker plants seeds of strife;
gossip separates the best of friends.
Be careful about what seeds (usually words) that you take in concerning your friends. The enemy wants to destroy relationships that give godly strength.
What kind of words are coming out of your mouth?
Friday, October 15, 2010
1A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. KJV
Relationships are so important in everyday life
Pastor John and I have been married for 23 years and like any couple that has been married for any period of time we've experienced verse one of chapter 15. Thankfully we've both become more adapt at the gentle answer part of the verse. There are times when I have been amazed at God's grace to help us answer gently and to see anger or hurt fade away. We are not perfect...so yes I'll admit over the years we've seen the second part of the verse too. It takes grace to answer gently when we are upset about something our mate or friend has said when they are angry...or when we feel they've done something wrong. The knee jerk response is to match their anger or assume what we've suspected is correct and go at them with a vengeance. Practicing this verse in your everyday experience is not weakness or allowing the world to stomp on you, no rather it allows for the heart of the matter to be seen rather than clouded with angry expressions of self protection.
This verse reminds me that God is so faithful to talk to us about issues that can change the course of our life. He talks about issues that will be reoccurring throughout our life. While we would like to think that we can learn a truth and never be tested in it again...that simply isn't reality. Pastor John and I have gotten better at giving gentle answers by reason of use and hiding the Word of God in our heart...but each new issue is an opportunity to walk in the love of Christ or to follow the flesh. So this verse is as fresh today as the first day we read it.
I see I've taken up all my writing space on one verse today. There are so many good ones in chapter 15. Pastor John told me about a verse that reminded him of a food buffet.
Which verses jumped out at you today?
Has their been a verse in our journey that has been a verse that has been something that changed the course of your actions on more than one occasion?
Here is one more verse that caught my attention
2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. NLT
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Here are a few of the verses that spoke to me.
7 Stay away from fools, for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.
So it really does matter who we hang out with on a daily basis.
13 Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
Laughter is good. However...it should not be used to simply cover the truth of what is really going on inside. We need to recognize this in ourselves and be aware of it as we minister to people. Laughter doesn't always mean everything is okay.
30 A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
We must be careful not to get judgmental about people who experience sickness and say that they don't have a peaceful heart... that is not always the case...But in our own life we need to remember this truth. When things are at peace and when we don't allow ourselves to dwell in jealousy our body responds with good health. Our attitudes do matter.
31 Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him. God cares about those that need help.
What are we doing to help the poor? My father in law used to tell the story about one of his Aunts who lived in poverty. She was always going about making meals and helping the "poor" in some way. God blessed her...she had a heart for those poorer than herself. Makes me ask myself the question...where is my heart and what am I doing?
One more verse that I haven't gotten off my mind is this:
1 A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Here is a verse that stood out for me as I read chapter 13.
3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. NLT
This mouth theme keeps going on and on. Proverbs is every bit as upfront as the book of James in the New Testament on this theme. Think about it. Have you ever had your own words ruin something? Have they ruined relationships by lessening trust ? Have they caused you shame when you realized that you spoke out of turn and hurt the feelings of others? Have you spoken unbelief and doubt and caused faith to drain from your heart or the heart of others? Wow, heavy stuff to digest! It doesn't stop here either...Proverbs goes on with the good and bad of what can happen when we open our mouth. A long time ago some of our church ladies looked up every proverb that dealt with the mouth. What an adventure. Maybe you might want to do the same as you read.
Which theme or themes is God talking to you about? Take a minute to write them down in your notebook.
What verses stood out to you as you read today? Take a minute and ask the Holy Spirit....What action steps do I need to take in this area?
Re-read some of the short verses that deal with the theme that Holy Spirit is speaking to you about. What guidance for change do they give?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
10 The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel. NLT
Human beings are made in God's image and are His highest creation. We are made like Him. Isn't it interesting that one's godliness can be evaluated in the way we treat the animals in our care.
27 Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find
I've noticed several verses in Proverbs that deal with laziness and how it effects a person. This verse takes the cake. A lazy person may start a project or start something to better themselves but they stall because they refuse to finish what they start. How silly would it be to go the grocery store and have food in the fridge but die from starvation because you didn't cook what you had? Got any projects that are half finished...maybe it is time to determine to finish the job.
25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
18 Some people make cutting remarks,
but the words of the wise bring healing.
19 Truthful words stand the test of time,
but lies are soon exposed.
Words can make all the difference in a persons life. Be careful what you utter.
Take a look at chapter 12 and meditate or think about some of the verses. Maybe there is one that fits your situation today. God has answers.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Seek God with all your heart we were advised in the first nine chapters. Listen to the voice of God and treasure His words more than gold or silver. There are millions of people on our planet...yet God loves you and desires to give you His Wisdom individually. One sure way to begin to understand God's ways is to read His Word.
Wow. Take a look at all of the guidence in just this chapter alone. It might seem like too much to take in at one setting. My prayer for you is that as you read Proverbs chapter 11 today God will speak specially to you about situations you are facing. I may highlight certain verses here on the blog...but God may highlight verses that I don't even mention. It will be that way from now on as we travel through Proverbs. If you are interested in a certain subject...get a notebook and every time there is a verse that deals with it write it down. Some Bibles have helps that show you similar verses throughout the Bible. Do you need to work on your tongue???...write out all the verses that deal with that in your notebook. What ever subject that you are dealing with is likely to be found in some way or fashion in this book.
Don't give up on the challenge. We've already completed ten days. If you've missed a few start with today and catch up on what you missed as you can. You can complete this challenge and reap the benefits of putting God's Wisdom in your heart. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." In Hosea's day...they lost knowledge because they rejected it..they wanted their own way instead of God's. That is true of American's too. Also we have many people who have never really sought God's way for themselves. They've trusted in a Sunday Sermon alone....and they seldom open the Bible themselves. Put that kind of thing aside and seek Him with all your heart.
Here are some of my favorite verses from this chapter.
1 The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights. 3 Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people. 9 With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous. What verses were your favorite in today's chapter?
Is God speaking something to you concerning your everyday life?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The past 9 days we've read as the author exhorts us to seek out God's Wisdom as a person would seek for great treasure. We are asked to listen to the voice of God and seek His knowledge and wisdom for our life. Today's chapter starts the famous short pithy sayings that Proverbs is famous for around the world. Sometimes each proverb in a chapter seem to stand on it own...and sometimes they seem to be interconnected.
This time there are connections between some of the Proverbs. Scattered throughout the chapter...Solomon talks about the words of the wise opposed to the words of fools. The words of the wise are life giving...while the words of fools don't have any good purpose. It talks about laziness verses doing a good job.
My favorite verses in this chapter are
1 The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice,
but the tongue that deceives will be cut off.
32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words,
but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.
What's your favorite verse in chapter 9. What verse did the Lord especially speak to you about?
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Wisdom calls and invites all who will come to the table....a big spread is set before us. Wisdom doesn't care if we've messed up before....it bids us to brush off failure and eat of its fruit. Wisdom looks over the city and in the towns....Wisdom sends its servants out to find all those who will come. Those who seem unlikely candidates are welcome. Leave past indiscretion behind and let Wisdom make things new.
Isn't that what we all need. Haven't we all had those times where we just messed up or we just didn't know what to do? God is the author of Wisdom and He is waiting for us to heed the call to allow Him to make all the difference in our everyday life and choices. Listen Wisdom says...let God Speak...don't just go your own way....seek Me.
Listen. What voice are you listening to? Who has your ear? The past several chapters have warned about not allowing the wrong voices speak to your heart. Wisdom beckons.
7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8 So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more.
Friday, October 8, 2010
35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. 36 But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.” NLT
Wisdom speaks directly in chapter eight as a person. We learn wisdom and good judgment go hand in hand. It is easy to think that our judgment is wise and right, but God tells us to listen to His judgment instead. The New Testament talks about the renewing of the mind that comes by the Word of God. Wisdom pleads for us to listen to its instruction because his advice is completely right and without any deceit. Yielding to God requires that we yield to what He says is right and allow Him to sit it the drivers seat of our life. No matter how long we've been a Christian wisdom calls out to us to listen to God's instruction in our everyday situations. Never stop listening to and seeking for the Wisdom of God. God desires we prosper in all things. Relationships, work, finances, health and all areas of life. Wisdom from God if listened to will bring these things to our life. The Proverb says Wisdom loves those who seek it....Joyful are they who listen to it.
In what ways are you listening to God's Wisdom?
How has it made a difference in your decisions?
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
The author talks about young men who become trapped by immoral women. He looks out the window and sees them walking toward her house....being enticed by her words and her seductive dress. The woman described is not loyal to her husband and the vows she's taken. Taking this path the author tells those he considers sons will lead only to pain and ruin.
The man or woman whose mate strays and is found in the arms of another can relate to this chapter and agree that this action will lead to ruin. Ruin to marriage and family....leaving brokenness and hurt....and ruin to the straying partner who thinks that they've found something better. Parents warn their children... their boys and their girls not to be trapped by smooth talk that amounts to nothing but pain.
Our society says that these things are no big deal...but God warns us as a Father and Mother warn their children...don't be taken for a bill of goods. Not everyone who says they love you really does and not everything that glitters is really golden. Those who want to led you down a path of an uncommitted relationship that is void of marriage vows are only looking out for their own interest. They have no loyalty and if you follow their course you too will have the same dismal outlook that will led to hard-ache.
God speaks to real everyday life. Maybe you hope the situation you are in is good...but if it's foundation is against the Word it will never work or bring contentment. God honors marriage. Don't be lead astray.
Maybe your marriage or dating situation is inline with the Word but you have other things that tempt you as surely and as relentlessly as the immoral woman described in our Proverb reading. God says to you the same thing He said through Solomon in this reading. Proverbs 7:24-25 NLT
24 So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. 25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path.
This chapter doesn't fail to give everyday advice on a variety of subjects. Have you ever wondered about whether you should be a co-signer for a friend??? Proverbs has some advise about that situation. Ever wonder if you should give your child chores and encourage them to be willing to work???? Take a look at what will befall someone with a spirit of laziness. Have you ever wondered if there are things that God really hates and abhors there is a list in chapter 6.
Has co-signing for the wrong person every put you in a mess?
Has the old saying that implies money can separate friends ever been a possibility in one of your friendships?
( Anyone who watches one of the courts on tv knows that money is always at the root of conflict. )
Is there an area of life that you are lazy and that you need to work on.
My confession would be "my laundry is piled high"and I need to get to it today.
Did you look on the list of things God hates? Do you have a problem with any of them?
One would think that list wouldn't touch a normal persons life...it would just be for evil people....yet there are a few things on that list that our society wouldn't consider so bad...but obviously God does.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Ancient society didn't always honor women but here we see the Word of God telling men to be satisfied with the love of their wife...to be captivated by her love whether in youth or in older age. .. Clearly relating that marriage is to be taken in a serious manner and that love between marriage partners is to be taken as a covenant and with respect for each other. For a man to run around is said to be a disgrace...and neglects what could be if he would stoke the fires of his own marriage.
Singles may be groaning....well how does that help me. First it gives you a glimpse of just how good God wants marriage to be and second we can also glean that we shouldn't let anything take us from the love of God. To listen to this Proverb keeps both married and single folks from the traps of the enemy.
What has God been sharing with you the last few days.
Monday, October 4, 2010
The past 4 days the Proverbs have said again and again...Pay Attention....Listen to my Words...and Trust God. Develop good judgment. I come from a family who have allowed God to give us His wisdom...but we must never assume we have it all. Tonight the Holy Spirit reminds me that it is not my own wisdom or reliance upon the family trait of wisdom that is what God wants . God wants me to to continue to develop good judgment...it is not a process that comes to an end where one can say they have arrived. Today a friend whom I respect told me about something the Lord is speaking to her about...and it just reminded me how the Lord is always speaking into our life....and it is our part to listen to really listen. Situations in our life depend upon our willingness to seek God's wisdom and character renewal. The NLT in verse six says, "Don't turn your back on wisdom for she will protect you. Love her and she will guard you." As I look back over the last months I see times where I walked in this kind of wisdom, but if I'm honest there are instances where I missed the mark and it had bad results that required some spiritual cpr. I love verse 23..."Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life" So my revelation so far is I've got a long way to go...I'm not just leading people through a journey as though I know it all but the journey is suppose to change me as well. So if like me this isn't your first rodeo (Dr. Philism) in the book of Proverbs be open to new things the Spirit would speak to you.
What did God speak to you about as you read chapter 4 today?
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Chapter three has some verses that are favorites for many. The importance of listening to God's Wisdom and allowing it to be rooted in our heart is shown to be of such great importance that it will prolong a person's life.
Proverbs 3:4-7 is famous....and let's us know that we are not to depend on our own understanding.
There are things in the chapter that will give the favor of the Lord if obeyed , there are verses that deal with finances, taking correction, and relationships with others. Everyday life is all over this chapter.
I pray that the Holy Spirit speaks to you about an area that will benefit your life. Remember He may deal with one person about one section and another person with another section. Take a minute and pray about the chapter and you'll be blessed as God begins to speak to your heart about how the Word can take root in you.
Friday, October 1, 2010
October 2nd ( I put this post up minutes before 12:00 a.m. so it still says October 1rst.)
How can we really come to treasure the wisdom of God and His presence in our life?
How can wisdom keep us from the influence of the wrong people and ideas?
What did God speak to you about as you read Proverbs? Feel free to write a comment here on the blog.
Today we are starting a challenge that will change our everyday life if we will allow it too. We are going to read one chapter a day in the book of Proverbs. Whether this is your first time through this Bible book or your 100th the Holy Spirit stands ready to help bring about positive change and solutions in our everyday life.
Grab your Bible and notebook or go to Biblegateway.com chose a Bible translation and open up your word document so you can write down what you feel God is speaking to you about. Be sure and use the comment section on the blog and write your thoughts for all of us to be blessed from..it helps to interact.
Chapter one is going to tell you why God wants us to walk in wisdom. It will confront us with the fact that fools despise wisdom and discipline...instruction is an insult to them. There is no one exempt from the need to seek God's Wisdom...let the wise become wiser and those that lack wisdom receive from God's Word.
1. What reasons do verses 1-7 give for acquiring wisdom?
Right off the bat our willingness to listen to godly people and the choosing our associations are mentioned.
2. What do verses 8-19 tell us about the power of incitement?
3. How does Wisdom Cry out to us. verses 20-33
Be sure and comment.