May 15, 2020

            He loves your prayers

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.  Proverbs 15:8

Did you know that it brings joy to God when you pray?  Today’s scripture says that your prayer is His delight.  It actually gives the impression that He looks forward to hearing from you.  It is His great pleasure when you come to talk to Him.  Think about it in a natural sense.  When your own child comes to you to talk or just be with you for a while, how much pleasure does it bring you.  What about if they come to you only when they want or need something.  You will begin to have thoughts every time they come around that they must need something, that’s why they are here.  Of course, you are always there for them, but maybe you wish in your heart that they would just come to have fellowship sometimes. However, that’s not the way it is with God.  In verse 29 it says, He hears the prayer of the righteous.  The word prayer means to bring a solemn request for help.  It can also be and expression of thanks or praise and worship.  It just doesn’t matter what we come to Him about, He is always ready to hear and to help.

Verse 11 in this chapter says, Hell and Destruction are before the Lord; so how much more the hearts of the sons of men.  How much more is He aware of what is on our hearts.  All things are before Him and nothing is hidden from Him, but when one of God’s children come to Him, everything else has to step aside.  He receives us immediately and gives us His full attention.  He is never distracted by world crisis or the current epidemic.  His thoughts and interest are always with His people.  Even if you don’t see an immediate answer to a request you brought to Him, continue to stay with Him and when the problem comes up again, just go ahead and thank Him that you were able to talk to Him about it already and that you trust and believe that He is working it all out for the good because you love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

Today I want to encourage you to set aside special time to visit with and talk to God.  Always keep in mind that God is waiting to hear from you.  He loves you and greatly enjoys spending time with you all throughout the day.  Also, don’t forget to spend time listening.  Sit quietly for a few minutes after you ask Him if there is anything He wants to speak to your heart.  Pay attention to any thoughts that come after that.  Maybe a scripture or a song?  It could even be the answer to your current requests, but it is up to you to receive and move in the direction that He points.  The wisdom of God is always available to you and sharing it with you is His delight!

Today’s scripture reading:  Proverbs 15

May 14, 2020

Build your house

The wise woman builds (up) her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.  Proverbs 14:1

This seems like a random statement at the beginning of this chapter.  It doesn’t look like the wise woman is mentioned again throughout the entire chapter. However, it leaves me with questions.  How does she build her house up?  What makes her wise? I believe the answer to these questions is in verse three.  It says that lips or the words of the wise will preserve/keep (build up) them just like the mouth of the fool is a rod that carries pride.  The words of your mouth are vitally important.  With your words, you are either blessing others or cursing them.  Your words are easily swayed by your surroundings, but even more so in the home.  Home is where the real you comes out.  It is where you are most comfortable and expose all that is in your heart. 

So what exactly does it look like to “build up” your home?  I like how it is unpacked in the book of Titus.  Titus 2:3-5 says, the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.  That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the Word of God. The list of things in this passage are directly related to words.  Reverence is shown by the way you talk to someone.  Not slanderers and teachers of good things are also directly related to our words. The words that we speak in our homes and to our family members are the way we build our house or pull it down.

One last thought concerning this verse.  It says the foolish pulls the home down with her hands.  When you become so focused on keeping a house in perfect order, it leaves little room for grace.  In verse 4 of this chapter it says Where no oxen are, the trough is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of an ox.  It means that you can keep your barn in perfect condition if you have nothing living in it, but it is also of no use.  Likewise, if you keep your home in pristine shape, you may be missing what is really important, the way you are impacting and nurturing your family. Building your home is all about the people in it and your relationships with them.

Today I want to encourage you to be wise and build your house.  Speak words that build up and encourage.  Don’t use your words to control and manipulate others around you, instead, use them to draw out the gifts and strengths out of those you love.  Become wiser everyday by seeking the direction and insight of the Holy Spirit to show you how you can build your house with the wisdom of God and in the process, help those around you to become wise also and build their future homes.

Today’s scripture reading:  Proverbs 14

May 13, 2020

Walk with wise people

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.  Proverbs 13:20

Wow!  This is good news!  I can walk with wise people and be wise.  I need that, but how do I “walk” with wise people?  What if I don’t know any wise people?  Where do I find them?  Many times, we see good advice and instruction in the scripture, but have no idea how to actually get it to show up in everyday life.  Today’s verse is a good example of what I am talking about.  How do you get connected with wise people?

Here are just a few steps to get yourself connected with wisdom.  Number one is to press into the Holy Spirit of God.  He is the ultimate wisdom and will guide you into all truth.  Cultivate your relationship with Him daily by spending time in God’s Word and praying.  Learn to hear His voice on the inside as you go through your day to day activity.  Next, look for those who have accomplished things that you want to in your life and learn from them.  Whether its in relationships, finances or promotions, surround yourself with those who have been successful before you.  Imitate the success principles they have used.  Lastly, get involve in small groups and serve in your local church to learn and connect with other Christians that walk in the wisdom of God.  Pay attention to who is walking in wisdom around you and then move in their direction.

Today I want to encourage you to walk with wise people and be wise.  Evaluate any area of your life that you need wisdom, then ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to where that wisdom can be found.  Recognize those around you who have been successful and connect yourself with others who are walking through life in the wisdom of God.

Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 13

May 12, 2020

Right in their own eyes

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.        Proverbs 12:15

This verse reminds me of those who say they have their own reality.  That there is no absolute truth.  Those who would argue that truth is always dependent on social or cultural context rather than being absolute and universal.  Truth is always partial and related to the current issue not complete and certain.  The idea is ludicrous and opens up a reality with no law or boundaries where everyone does what is right in their own eyes.  So sad that there are so many out there that actually subscribe to such a philosophy.  It is beyond anything I can imagine.  I am so thankful for the written standard of God that gives us a guide to measure our lives against to keep us from destruction.

This entire chapter of Proverbs exposes the lifestyle of any who would take on that post-modernism belief.  It describes that life as rottenness in his bones, despised, overthrown, anxiety, depression, devoid of understanding, devise evil, proclaim foolishness and their way leads them astray.  How true it is.

In contrast this chapter shows us that the individual who would line their life up with the instruction and the ways of wisdom, obtain favor from the LORD.  They will be commended and satisfied in life.  They will come through any trouble and their shame will be covered.  Their speech promotes health and the truth of their words will be established forever.  The results of living right before God are not only rewarding, but also the safest place to be in this world.  You can be right in the middle of a war zone or pandemic, but if your life is lined up and in right standing with God, you are in the safest place you can be, abiding under that shadow of the almighty.  His wisdom will always shelter you and bring you through every crisis!

Today, I want to encourage you to seek God’s righteousness and wisdom.  Connect yourself with wise counselors that you trust to speak into your life regularly. Someone that will not only tell you the right way to go, but give them permission and be willing to listen if they see you heading in a wrong direction.  Do not depend on your own understanding.  Be wise and listen to the spiritual mentors in your life.  To learn, you must love discipline and instruction.

Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 12

May 11, 2020

What is your reward?                                             

If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner?  Proverbs 11:31

This verse pretty much sums up chapter 11 of Proverbs.  It is all about the rewards of living according to God’s ways or the results of an ungodly life.  It starts out talking about honesty and justice, then goes into humility and pride.  These all go back to the believe that God’s ways are what produce success in life.  He created the earth and everything in it, and He knows the way to succeed.  Righteous living produces life and godless living produces death. This is not about works for salvation.  It is only about the way of prosperity and success here in this world.  If you listen to wisdom and live life according to God’s ways, you can be “successful” in this world even without salvation.  However, true riches are measured in the untouchable gifts that only come through receiving salvation through the blood of Jesus and God’s Holy Spirit. 

Matthew 5 45 says, “…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.  Jesus said the things that happen in the world happen for all people.  Whether you are evil or good, just or unjust, you still get rained or sunshined on.  The ways of God will work for you or the ways of evil will work against you.  It is truly the proof that “good works” do not produce eternal salvation.  This is how you can determine who are God’s people, not by their success in life or how good they behave, it is only by their personal relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

Today I want to encourage you as you read through this chapter in proverbs. Consider any areas of your life that you can become more successful in simply by lining up with God’s ways of doing things.  Also, I would encourage you to consider your relationship with God.  Do you only go to Him with trouble and bail outs or do you press into Him and His ways to be successful in the plans He has for you.  Lastly, consider your works.  Are you depending on good behavior to secure your eternity or do you truly have a personal relationship with your Heavenly Father through your Savior Jesus?  If you have never invited Jesus to be the LORD of your life, pray this prayer today and Jesus will come into your life and bridge that gap between you and your Father in heaven.  Then line up all your ways with His path and step into all the successes He has waiting for you.

Pray:  God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior.  I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me.  Please forgive me for my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new.  I know you Son, Jesus died for me.  I believe in my heart that You raised Him form the dead.  At this very moment, I accept, confess and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward.  Thank you, Jesus for Your grace that has saved me from my sin and has given me eternal life.  I now have a right relationship with God my Father. I also ask for Your Holy Spirit to guide and empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading; Proverbs 11

May 10, 2020

  Happy Mother’s Day!

A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish child brings grief to their mother. Proverbs 10:1

Happy Mother’s Day!  Since its Mother’s Day, I thought it was fitting that the first verse in Proverbs 10 speaks about how children effect their mother and father.  Wise children make them glad and foolish children bring them grief.  As you continue to read through the entire chapter, there is quite a few details of what pleases parents and what grieves them.  Below I have listed some of the qualities mentioned in this chapter so you can see how you measure up as a child that pleases or grieves their parents.

                          Foolish                                                                                Wise

Verse 4:  a slack hand becomes poor                      vs.        diligent hand makes rich

Verse 5:  sleeps in harvest                                       vs.        gathers in summer

Verse 8:  prating (mindless drivel) fool will fall       vs.        receives commands/instruction

Verse 11: violence covers the fool’s mouth          vs.        right words are a well of life

Verse 12: hate stirs up strife                                    vs.        love covers all sins

Verse 14: mouth of the fool is near destruction     vs.        wise stores up knowledge

Verse 19: sin abounds in many words              vs.        the wise restrains his lips

Verse 21: die for lack of wisdom                             vs.        righteous lips feed others

Verse 24: the fool’s fear comes on him             vs.       desire of wise will be granted

Of course, that is not all of them, but as you read the entire chapter, identify which category you fit into.  (hopefully wise)  Notice how the attributes in the “wise” column are intentional qualities.  These are traits that you do on purpose because you are a person of wisdom and integrity.  Just because you want to be wise doesn’t mean it happens automatically. 

Today I want to encourage you to honor your mother in some way.  Whether you are young or old, make a special effort to let your mom know you appreciate her for your life.  Remember, that Ephesians 6:2&3 promises when we honor our parents, we will live a long healthy life.

Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 10

May 9, 2020

The beginning of wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  For by Me (wisdom) your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.

Do you fear the Lord?  Not afraid so you run and hide from Him.  The kind of fear I’m talking about it a reverential, awesome fear.  That you know how powerful He is and how His kingdom rules over the just and unjust.  Not even in a bad sense but in a good way.  That you know His goodness is always happening, so you want to stay close to Him to be in it.

Today’s verses are about the fear of the Lord.  It says wisdom starts with fearing the Lord.  The very first place you start when you recognize your need for God and His salvation is fear of eternal separation from Him.  The wisdom that shows you to walk with the eternal heavenly Father is where good is and to reject Him is where evil lives. Its when you hold God in such a high regard that you are afraid to live away from Him.  That you know where your strength comes from.  You know that your protection and well being come from staying close to Him.  You know that without Him, you have no hope, no reason, and no purpose. The scripture says this wisdom multiplies your days and adds years to your life!  Glory to God!

Today I want to encourage you to fear the Lord.  Not the kind of fear that runs away from Him, but the kind that runs to Him.  He is your guard and your fortress.  In Him you have all that you need and in Him, you never need to be afraid of anything else.  Step into a new understanding today of the fear of the LORD and commit to staying there for all your multiplied days and added years of your life.

Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 9

May 8, 2020

Wisdom has a voice

Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice?  She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet.  She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, at the entrance of the doors:

Wow!  I read this chapter this morning and these verses jumped out at me.  Wisdom is crying out.  Its not a secret.  You don’t have to be a member of some secret society or an exclusive club.  She is everywhere you go.  On a high hill or on the way to somewhere or even at a busy crossroads.  In the city or inside a quiet place. So why does it seem so elusive most of the time.  I find I make decisions based on past experience, cost or opinion.  However, there is a way to make decisions based on wisdom and it should be obvious according to this chapter.  We should be able to hear wisdom loud and clear.

What is hindering us from getting wisdom all day long?  What is limiting our ability to hear the voice of wisdom?  According to this chapter, it is the things that we are seeking instead of wisdom that blocks her voice from getting through.  The things that repel wisdom are listed out in this chapter. 

  1. Understand wisdom is worth more than any precious thing (vs. 10)
  2. Wisdom is being able to see beyond the moment (vs. 12)
  3. The fear of the LORD (vs. 13)
  4. Hate evil, pride, arrogance, the evil way and a perverse mouth (vs. 13).

The secret is in taking time to listen and be open to an answer that is beyond our simple understanding.  Wisdom is bigger than we are and sees the big picture always.  It doesn’t take short cuts or settle.  Wisdom is always talking.  Like a beacon, it pings for all to hear.  Verse 17 says, I (wisdom) love those who love me (wisdom), and those who seek me (wisdom) diligently will find me (wisdom).  So, wisdom is always out there, but only those who love it and seek it have it (wisdom).

So, what about you?  Are you seeking wisdom?  Do you love wisdom?  Is it more precious to you than fine gold or choice silver?  Or are you like verse 36 that says, But those who miss me injure themselves.  All who hate me love death.

Today I want to encourage you to seek and desire wisdom above all!  Take time to listen for wisdom.  In this time of retreat and distancing from others, get quiet before the LORD and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to hear the voice of wisdom. Wisdom causes those who love her to inherit wealth and fills their treasures. (vs.21)  Fill your treasury today, so you can help spread the good news of wisdom around the world.

Today’s scripture reading:  proverbs 8

May 7, 2020

Flirting with the world

Keep My commands and live, and My law as the apple of your eye.  Proverbs 7:2

I look at this verse as God speaking to me.  He says if I keep His commands I will live. Then He wants me to keep His ways as the apple of my eye or the most precious thing I own.  What about that?  Keep His commands and live, make them (God’s words) your greatest possession?

Chapter 7 of Proverbs is about staying away from a seductive woman, but the meaning goes far deeper.  It is a warning to keep your life pure and not be seduced by the things and ways of the world. The first 5 verses are the very heart of God saying to treasure His commands and make wisdom your closest friend.  Your “go to” for all your decisions.  It seems like such a no brainer.  We have the wisdom of God accessible to us and with that the ability to make the right decision and do the right things for successful living.  God’s not trying to keep good from us, He trying to get it to us.  He knows where it is and that’s why He gave us an entire book of His will and His ways.  When we not only follow His directions in life, but also treasure them by making them the most important part of who we are, that’s where His blessing, goodness and protection is.  He also knows that when we get sucked into the world’s ways, we make ourselves vulnerable to being lured down the wrong road and into the traps of our enemy. 

Listen to the heart of God as you read verse 23-25.  Notice how He gives warning of the worldly ways that lead to destruction.  Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life.  Now therefore, listen to Me, My children; Pay attention to the words of My mouth:  Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths;

Today I want to encourage you to desire God’s ways and words above everything else in life.  Recognize that all your success is in His wisdom.  Evaluate where your heart is now and make the adjustments so that His way is the apple of your eye and top priority.  Not only because it is good for you, but also because He is good. Fill your heart up with love for Him as your Heavenly Father!  Next, assess any of the world’s ways that may have crept into your life, especially in your thinking and attitudes.  She is very subtle and sneaks right into our homes through media, internet and even our words if not guarded against.  Even things as seemingly harmless as criticizing and complaining. Hear my heart.  I have nothing to gain by how you live your life.  My only motive is that I was lured away and I know the destruction that waits for those who are pulled in to the clutches of the world.  I want that for no person!  God is after your heart, but only because He wants to nurture, protect and bring you to successful living.

Today’s scripture reading; Proverbs 7

May 6, 2020

True contentment

These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him Proverbs 6:16

As I went through the list of things that God hates, it was easy to look at them at face value and say.  “well, I don’t do those things. I’m doing pretty good.”  However, I believe the point of this scripture is not so much in the actions as it is a matter of the heart.  God is looking at the intent of our heart and it is the part of each one of us the shows who we really are.  1 Samuel 16:7 says, man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.  These seven things spoken of in the Proverb are heart matters and truly identify who or what is at the core of a person, whether it of God or sin.  I want to contrast in this dose the things that God hates with the opposite concluding that this is what God loves.

So the first thing in this list is a proud look.  Since the opposite of pride is humility, it is safe to say that God loves a humble heart.  Philippians 2:3 says, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  We are to consider others even before we concern ourselves with our own needs.  This is not natural and is something that we must intentionally do if it is going to be done at all. I have said it before, but it bears repeating.  Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.  When you put your focus on others and how you can bless and impact the lives of those around you, this is true humility and definitely an attribute that pleases God.  He is all about people and wants us to be too.

The next thing that God hates is a lying tongue.  This leads me to believe that He loves truth and honesty Ephesians 4:5 says put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Later on in the same chapter of Ephesians, verse 15 says when we speak the truth in love, we grow up in all things. What we are speaking is truly what is in our heart.  Our Heavenly Father has given us a standard in His Word, so we can truly know what truth is.

God hates hands that shed innocent blood, but He loves the hands that reach out to others with the love of God.  Matthew 10:42 tells us whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.

God sees a heart that devises wicked plans but the heart that follows God’s plan is the life that blesses Him.  Ephesians 5:17 tells us not be be unwise, but to understand what the will or plan of the LORD is.  By spending time with Him and acknowledging Him in all our ways, He places the path before us and empowers us to complete our assignment.

Feet that are swift to run to evil are feet that are running away from God. God receives the heart that is quick to repent and consistently turns their life in His direction. James 4:8 tells us when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. I love this passage so much. To know that I can press into God at any time, and He will come close to me is such a great comfort especially in the days we live in.

A false witness who speaks lies sounds a lot like a lying tongue, however, I believe this is a little deeper and speaking of how our words effect others.  Instead, lets be a people who encourage each other.  

1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to comfort each other and edify one another.  This is the heart that God is looking for, that we build each other up.

Lastly, one who sows discord among brethren.  Brethren is not speaking of brothers in our natural family, but of God’s family.  Jesus told us in Matthew 5:9 that we are to be peacemakers.  Bring peace into every situation you encounter in life.  Peace is the fruit that quickly identifies God’s Spirit is present.  Especially when you are with other believers, peace should always be the atmosphere.

I know this seems like a lot to consider, but these things are plainly spelled out in this chapter not to just quickly read over, but as a guide to line our lives up with.  Certainly it is worth the time to understand the heart of God in all these attitudes of the heart.

Today I encourage you to take a look at your own heart and honestly consider if it lines up with God’s.  Use this list as a guide to discern the thoughts and intents of your heart.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us to use God’s Word to discern our thoughts and intentions, and this passage is an excellent place to start.  Be that child of God that quickly runs to Him each day in full surrender and line up your life with everything He has planned for you.  It is where true contentment is.

Today’s scripture reading: Proverbs 6