12
Oct

Proverbs: A Five Day Devotional

Do you need a little wisdom today? Hear directly from God through the words of Solomon. Dive into the book of Proverbs for the next five days!!!

Day One:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

I used to say: “When I get old, I’ll just age gracefully.” Now that I’m 45, I’m starting to feel the need to fight it for all it’s worth!! Funny how time changes the way we feel about some things. So, what really makes a woman praiseworthy? According to this Proverbs, it is a woman who “fears the Lord.”

Interesting remark from a man that had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 King 11:3). That’s a lot of estrogen!!!

I imagine as King Solomon grew older, so did his needs. Fading with the beauty of his wives was his youthful lust for physical contact. Instead, in his maturity, he would now long for true companionship more than anything. Thus, as he interacted with the many women in his life, those who most likely stood out were the women who were virtuous, loyal, and feared God. These are the women that Solomon would find comfort in; and thus, his revelation about a person’s inner beauty became obvious.

Today, let’s remember at the core of a Proverbs 31 woman is her fear of the Lord and that for that she is worthy of praise!

 

Day Two:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Do you often find yourself trying to figure life out all by yourself? It’s easy to fall into this mindset. We often assume God must be terribly busy with something extremely important and that what we are facing is probably incredibly small in comparison. Surely, we can fix the problem. Sometimes the answer just seems to be dangling out there in front of us.

But this verse from Proverbs teaches that we must trust God and not rely only on our understanding of the problem. God uses all kinds of situations to bring about the display of His glory. He so delicately sets up the circumstances that we could never imagine in our wildest dreams how it all fits together in His overall plan.

And when we overstep and try to resolve the issue without Him, well, we all know it usually doesn’t turn out so well.

For today, let’s practice tying down that free spirit of ours and allow the One who sees how all the parts fit together to guide us.  

 

Day Three:

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Ever heard the saying: “You need to use that head of yours for something other than a coat rack.” At our house, my husband has used that phrase over and over to emphasize to our son that he needs to use his brain (aka, good sense) when making decisions. Especially, important ones!

As a society, we focus a lot on the power of our brain, but in the Bible, the heart is discussed more often. Why? I think the Lord answers that question in Proverbs 4:23.

Our spiritual heart contains multiple spaces in which we store experiences, memories, and emotions. It is our brain that helps us interpret these things, but the heart is the source from which they come. The heart can at times greatly influence the decisions we make either good or bad. From it can come actions of generosity, unconditional love, empathy, and compassion. Yet, from this same heart comes bitterness, backbiting, and anger.

When we find ourselves in a frustrating, fearful, or unloving state of mind, we need to turn back to our heart to find out what has caused these emotions to bubble to the surface. Once we can identify the deeply rooted source of our emotions, we need to acknowledge it and ask God to do a little spiritual surgery.

Are you guarding your heart? What steps can you take to make sure that you are not allowing certain things to take root in your heart and cause sinful emotions to build up?

 

Day Four:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

Proverbs 9:10 is probably one of my favorite Proverbs. Having gone through a period where I rediscovered my faith on a deeper level, it is my life verse. It is a great verse to emphasize to those in Christianity that appear to be going through the motions why they need to develop their relationship with Jesus further.

In essence, this proverb is telling us that we can “know of” God and have a deep reverence for Him, but still not “know” Jesus. And since we know that Jesus is the truth, the way, and life (John 14:6), just knowing of God doesn’t bring us into the authentic relationship that is necessary to either be saved from our sins or live the life Jesus came to bring us.

By entering into a relationship with Jesus, we gain an understanding of God and His ways that we cannot come to any other way.

Today, meditate on this verse. Consider whether you or someone you care about has knowledge of the Holy One. Use this verse to help others understand the difference between “knowing of” and “knowing.”

 

Day Five:

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Coming from a nursing background, I can tell you this verse from Proverbs is TRUE. I cannot tell you how many patients I have cared for over the years that had a positive attitude and carried on through their diagnosis without issue, even when it ended in death. However, I have also witnessed numerous patients with a negative attitude tragically suffer through their illness day after day.

Even in the most dire of circumstances, Jesus can bring joy to our hearts. An infusion of joy makes life bearable. Joy is also considered one of the nine fruits of the Spirit. If we are allowing Jesus to rule in our life, we should have an abundance of joy to offset the times of grief and despair we all go through.

On the other hand, allowing a crushed spirit to remain within us only leads to a desperate existence.

But how do we get our joy back when we suffer some less than joyous moments in life? As tough as it is sometimes, there are some steps we can take to start turning the tide back to a life filled with joy:

  1. Keep your focus on Jesus!
  2. Count your blessings. (I know that sounds cliché, but we seriously forget how much He does for us until we purposely remember).
  3. Stay in the Word (so you can fine scriptures like Proverbs 17:22 to refresh you).
  4. Pray, pray, and pray. (Jesus would love to talk with you about what’s bothering you).

Today I pray that if you are going through something depressing, disappointing, frustrating, or just plain chaotic, that you will reach for the One that can bring joy back to your heart! It’s the best medicine there is.

 

Blessings to you and yours!

 

3
Jul

Who Are You Hanging Out with These Days?

Do you remember the simpler days of your childhood? Remember those long summer days where playtime went late into the evening? Whether you lived in the country or a dense neighborhood, there was most likely someone to hang out with. And if not, we just made a friend up! Sometimes, those made up friends were better friends than our real friends, right?

As we grew and started school, we came into contact with all kinds of children. Some we would become really good friends with and some we would just kind of know. Others, if we are being honest, we would just avoid.

Then high school or college came and we learned the real meaning of peer pressure. We either were ruled by it or totally resisted it. I wonder, are you still friends with the one you labeled your “very best friend in the world”? I know a few people who have been able to maintain real, lifelong relationships with friends, but a lot of us don’t.

I do, however, have some really great memories of some old friends, and I hope their life turned out great, but I really don’t see them anymore. In fact, if it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have a clue what happened to some of them. Now, I have some really good friends that became friends of mine when we all worked together, and yet, we don’t see each other day-to-day either.

So who do I surround myself with these days? Well, today it is God, my immediate family, and my church family – in that order. Am I isolating myself? No, not at all. The truth is you and I may have 600 friends on Facebook, but we can’t really have true, close, honest friendships with all those people.

According to the Bible, those who surround us, interacting with us day-to-day, should have certain qualifications. What? You mean Jesus wants to pick my friends? No, He wants YOU to pick your friends, but He hopes they will be WISE friends.

Aren’t we supposed to be salt and light? Yes, but we should always be seeking wisdom so that we can represent Christ to the best of our ability. We can’t do that if we are unwise or allow the unwise to influence us. The Bible states:

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Prov. 13:20 NIV

That is just one of hundreds of verses in the Bible that refers to wisdom.

Now, when we talk about seeking wisdom among peers, I can’t help but think about Job. You remember Job – a godly man who lost family, wealth, and health all at once. Remember those “friends” who sat down around him as he mourned. Instead of helping the situation, they only inflicted more pain by sharing their “wisdom” with Job on how he was a sinner and must have played a role in his current situation. And I love this response from Job:

“You people really know everything, don’t you? And when you die, wisdom will die with you! Well, I know a few things myself—and you’re no better than I am. Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?” Job 12: 1-3 NLT

That just makes me giggle! What is Job saying? He’s basically saying: “With friends like you, who needs an enemy!”

Hopefully, you and I have better friends. Friends we can really count on. Friends who are there exactly when we need them. Friends who speak wisdom into our life!

Here are verses from Proverbs written by Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible, on how important wisdom is:

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Prov. 13:10

 

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver! Prov. 16:16

 

A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Prov. 17:24

 

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Prov. 28:26

 

Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. Prov. 29:18

Having considered these scriptures, do your friends bring out the best in you? Are they wisdom seekers themselves? Today, take inventory of those in your life and decide if each person brings wisdom to your life or just the opposite. Hopefully you are surrounded by wisdom, if not, it may be time to make some new friends!!

Who is the wisest person you know, and what is the best piece of advice he/she has given you?


Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

28
Oct

Tuesday Thoughts – Wisdom

So today I thought I would just post a little something to inspire you! I constantly need to be reminded how He sees me and what He wants for me. From these words in Proverbs, let Him speak to you and comfort you. Know that He is Truth, and He wants to share it with you!

My child, listen to what I say,
    and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
    and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
    and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
    seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
    and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
    From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
    He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
    and protects those who are faithful to him.  Proverbs 2:1-8 NLT

15
Aug

The Proverbs 31 Woman

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise. 

–Proverbs 31:30-31 NLT

If you had told me two weeks ago, ‘life is going to be radically different,’ I would never have imagined that I would be facing what I face today. My mother’s stroke has reminded me once again of the frailty of this life and the strength of the one and only Savior we cling to daily. The strength of my mother is amazing. Battling back from this setback will take time, but she has come out of the gate swinging.

There have been times in the past that we, like most mothers and daughters, have had opinions and viewpoints that didn’t agree with one another. However, this I know, we have never disagreed at who should be in charge of our life -Jesus. My parents raised me up in a traditional Southern Baptist church, and my Christian roots run deep because they took the time to rear their children to know the Lord. I promise you, nothing stood in the way of attending church each and every Sunday. Did I stray when I was older? Sure, a little. We all stray from God at different moments in life, but I have returned to that ‘old, rugged cross’ time and time again.

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