Thursday, March 31, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 31

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 31 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=PRoverbs%2031&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 31

This proverb is the collected sayings of King Lemuel as taught to him by his mother. (v1)

“Listen!” It’s repeated again and again in Proverbs. Listen. Be wise. He instruction. (v2)

Women are trouble, especially wicked and contentious women; they bring kings to ruin. (v3)

Alcohol should be avoided by the wise; it affects behavior and alters memory. (v4-7)

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (v8-9)

The last portion of this chapter of Proverbs talks about the virtuous woman, the wife of noble character. The woman described here is surely an ideal to which we should strive.

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” She is rare and valuable and beautiful. (v10)

Her husband has confidence in her. She makes him proud. She blesses him and brings good things to his life. (v11-12)

She is industrious and works hard with her hands. (v13)

She does what she has to, goes to any lengths, to feed her family. (v14)

She is the first to rise and the last to bed; she makes all of the preparations to take care of her family. (v15)

She is a shrewd businesswoman; a good investor. (v16)

She works hard and intensely; she is strong enough for her work. (v17)

She makes sure that her business succeeds and she has what she needs. (v18)

She is skilled at her work. (v19)

She takes care of the poor and is kind to the needy. (v20)

She is prepared for the snow, so when it comes, she is not worried. (v21)

She makes her own clothes and linens. (v22)

Her husband is respected in the community. (v23)

She sells her wares for a profit; she scouts out business. (v24)

She is strong, full of dignity and she is prepared for the future. (v25)

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (v26)

She is watchful and not lazy; she takes care of her household. (v27)

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (v28-31)

I’m a little tired just reading how industrious, efficient, and hard-working this woman is. It’s surely an ideal, but one that is worth reaching toward. It’s interesting to think about how much like a modern woman she is. She works hard. She takes care of her family and also runs a business. She is a shrewd investor and a wife and mother who is deserving of praise. I wonder when she sleeps.

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me a wife who brings honor to my husband. Help me be diligent and disciplined. Help me be a mother who raises wise children. Help me be like the wife of noble character and bring You glory. Amen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 30

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 30 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+30&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 30

This proverbs is the collection of Agur the son of Jakeh.

He cries out to the Lord that he is weary and feels beaten. He is in need of wisdom and understanding that only the Lord can give. (v1-4)

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” (v5-6)

He wisely asked the Lord for wisdom and understanding. He asked for only what he needed knowing that if he had too much he would forget the Lord or if he had not enough he would dishonor the Lord.” (v7-9)

“Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.” (v10)

There are people in the world who are foolish. They do not listen to the wisdom of their parents and they are proud and arrogant. They are never satisfied and never have enough even though they devour the poor. (v11-17)

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman.” (v18-29)

The adulterous woman sees no problem with her sin. (v30)

He continues to list things that are amazing to him. His lists echo much of what we still find amazing or incomprehensible.

“Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.” (v21-23)

“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught in the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.” (v24-28)

“There are three things that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing: a lion, mighty among beasts who retreats before nothing; a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king secure against revolt.” (v29-31)

You should keep quiet instead of play the fool; hold your hand over your mouth if you must. (v32)

“For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” I know this one very well lately; “like churning cream” as you keep stirring up anger, it creates something new – strife. (v32)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Keep me from being one who stirs up strife by allowing my anger to be churned and churned and churned. May I be an influencer of peace and a speaker of quiet answers. Amen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 29

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 29 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2029&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 29

“Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.” There is a penalty for ignoring the rebukes of the Lord and of the wise. Don’t push it too far or you may be destroyed. (v1)

The people are joyful when the ruler is righteous, but a wicked ruler oppresses them. (v2)

“A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders wealth.” (v3)

A just ruler makes for a stable country, but one who is greedy and underhanded is its downfall. (v4)

Flattery is not kind; it traps a person. (v5)

“Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.” Your sin will catch up with you, it’s only a matter of time. But, the righteous can be joyous and full of peace. (v6)

The wise and righteous take care of the poor; the wicked do not care about the poor at all. (v7)

“Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away in anger.” (v8)

If you take a fool to court, he is just going to make a scene and there will be no peace. (v9)

“The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright.” (v10)

It’s the business of a fool to vent and spew their rage all over the place. A wise person is a calming influence. (v11)

A ruler who is easily swayed and listens to lies will corrupt those who work with him. (v12)

“The poor and the oppressor have this in common: the Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.” (v13)

A good king will judge the poor with fairness and the people will love him. (v14)

“A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.” (v15)

When the wicked and sin thrive, sometimes it seems hopeless, but the righteous will see their collapse. (v16)

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.” (v17)

When there is no revelation of wisdom, people become unruly. Where wisdom reigns, the people are blessed. (v18)

Words are not enough for correction; there must be consequences. (v19)

Be slow to speak, a fool has more hope than one who can not control his tongue. (v20)

If you pamper a person instead of instruct and discipline them in the ways of wisdom, they will turn out to be trouble. (v21)

“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.” (v22)

Pride is the downfall of people, but humility brings them favor. (v23)

If you help a thief you can not tell the truth without getting yourself into trouble. (V24)

“Fear of a man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (v25)

Many people try to appear before rulers of men, but true justice comes from the Lord. (v26)

The righteous and the wicked hate one another for who they are. (v27)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me be one who brings calm to a situation. I don’t want to be like the quick tempered, uncontrolled fool. I want to speak peace and wisdom into every situation. Help me know Your ways and speak Your words. Amen.

Monday, March 28, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 28

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 28 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2028&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 28

The wicked are always running, but the righteous stand strong. (v1)

If you see a country that is out of control, you should look at its leaders to see why. (v2)

If you keep pressing people, you get to a point where you kill any chance they have of producing. (v3)

“Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them.” (v4)

The wicked can not understand what is right, but the righteous can. (v5)

It’s much better to be poor and righteous than rich and wicked. (v6)

“A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” (v7)

If you gain wealth by cheating the poor, it will be given to one who actually does take care of the poor. (v8)

“If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” (v9)

If you deceive the righteous, you will be caught by your own trap; but the blameless will receive their reward. (v10)

“The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.” (v11)

There is a great celebration when the good prosper, but the people fear when the wicked come to power. (v12)

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (v13)

A hard heart brings trouble, but the one who is soft before the Lord is blessed. (v14)

“Like a roaring lion or a charging extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.” (v15)

A good ruler can expect a long reign. (v16)

A murderer who is tormented by his guilt make seek to kill himself for relief. (v17)

The innocent will be kept safe while the perverse will be caught by their own schemes. (v18)

If you work hard, you will be filled; if you are lazy, you will be poor. (v19)

Faithfulness leads to blessing; there is no quick fix for poverty. (v20)

“To show partiality is not good – yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.” (v21)

“The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.” (v22)

Although, at first, you may seem like an enemy if you rebuke someone, in the end you will be known for having loved them well. Someone who flatters instead of telling the truth is not a friend. (v23)

To steal from your own family but then justify it makes you a partner with the wicked. (v24)

“The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.” (v25)

If you put your trust in yourself, you put your trust in a fool; but the wise walk in the way of wisdom. (v26)

If you give to the poor, you will be blessed. If you ignore the poor, you will be cursed. (v27)

REPETITION: “When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.” (v28)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me see the opportunities to help the poor. May my eyes be open to their need and my heart soft to their situations. May I care for them as You would. Amen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 27

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 27 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2027&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 27

None of us are promised tomorrow; so don’t count on what may come. (v1)

Don’t brag; let others brag on you. (v2)

Don’t fight with a fool; it’s not worth the heaviness to your soul and body. (v3)

Jealousy is worse than anger. (v4)

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” (v5)

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” It’s better to have a friend who will gently correct you than an enemy who will kiss up to you
but be dishonest.” (v6)

“One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.” (v7)

“Like a bird that flees its nest is anyone who flees from home.” (v8)

The heartfelt advice of a loving friend is as beautiful as a lovely fragrance. (v9)

“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you – better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away. (v10)

If the son is wise, it validates the teaching of the father. (v11)

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Be wise. Look down the road. Head the warnings. (v12)

Don’t take the word of someone who pledges for a stranger; hold collateral. (v13)

Do not speak loudly in the morning; it is the same as cursing. (v14)

There is nothing that can be done about the incessant nagging of a quarrelsome wife; avoid her in the first place. (v15-16)

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We are to challenge, encourage and sharpen one another. (v17)

“The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.” (v18)

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” What you believe and who you are is as clear in your life as the reflection of your own face in a mirror. (v19)

“Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes.” (v20)

Gold and silver are tested by fire, but people by their praise. (v21)

No matter what you do to a fool, he will remain foolish. (v22)

Watch over your wealth, it is not guaranteed. Watch over what you have so that you will not suddenly be found without what you need. (v23-27)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
May the reflection of my heart be close to Your own. Lord, when people look into my life, may they see You. May I continue to gain wisdom in order to be a pleasing daughter to You and bring You honor. Amen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 26

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 26 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2026&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.


Proverbs 26
The foolish person is nothing but trouble to you. Stay away from him. Don’t trust him. Do not put anything in his hands. Do not get on his level or listen to any “wisdom” from him. (v1-12)

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” (v11-12)

The sluggard is as bad as the fool. He is too lazy to accomplish anything and sits back to watch others handle things. (v13-16)

“Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.” Mind your own business. (v17)

“Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking’!” Be honest. Speak truth. (v18-19)

“Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.” Don’t gossip or pick fights, it only fuels drama and pain. (v20-22)

Those with silver tongues lead you to death. Be wary of someone who is too smooth. (v23-28)

“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.” (v27)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me keep my mouth shut and stay out of other people’s business. I do not want to be counted among the foolish. Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 25

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 25 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2025&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 25

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable." (v2-3)

If what is spoiling the progress is removed, a great feat can be achieved. (v4-5)

Be humble. Do not exalt yourself into a position that is not rightfully yours. It is better to be praised than to praise yourself and have to be put back in your place. (v6-7)

Do not be quick to take things to court as it may cost you more than you know. Be careful to keep confidences. All of these things could bring you shame if you are not careful. (v8-10)

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruler rightly given. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.” (v11-12)

A trustworthy messenger is like a cold drink on a scorching day. But one who brags about things that never happened is like a blustery day with no relief. (v13-14)

“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (v15)

Be moderate with everything; with eating and drinking and with the company of friends. (v16-17)

“Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor. Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble. Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” (v18-20)

If your enemy is hungry or thirsty, help him; this is the best revenge. (v21-22)

“Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue – which provokes a horrified look.” (v23)

Stay away from the quarrelsome wife if it means you have nothing else. (v24)

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked. “(v25-26)

It’s not good to overindulge in anything, even searching out deep matters. (v27)

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”(v28)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Teach me to control my tongue, my desires, my heart, and myself. Lord, I want to be wise and I want to be a place of refuge for my friends. Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 24

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 24 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2024&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 24

Do not be jealous of the wicked or wish that you were their friend; it only leads to trouble. (v1-2)

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”(v3-4)

Wisdom and power go hand in hand; victory comes when there are many advisors. (v5-6)

Fools should keep quiet since wisdom is out of their grasp. (v7)

“Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.” (v8-9)

Hold fast; be strong. It is for you to stand in the gap for the weaker and those who are being lead away. God will hold you responsible for it even if you say, “I didn’t know”. (v10-12)

Wisdom is sweet, like honey, and is to be sought after and desired. (v13-14)

Do not hang around and wait for the righteous to stumble, they will always rise again; but not so the wicked. (v15-16)

“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn His wrath away from them.”(v17-18)

“Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. “ (v19-20)

The Lord and the king are able to bring swift wrath, so be respectful of both. (v21-22)

It is not good to be a biased judge; there will be penalties for those who subvert justice. (v23-25)

“An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” (v26)

Make sure you have an income and established position before you build your house. (v27)

Do not speak against someone or arrange for revenge; it will not go well. (v28-29)

The lazy person sleeps while everything goes to ruin. Poverty comes like a thief to those who are lazy. (v30-34)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Teach me the value of discipline and of obeying Your word. Teach me the way of the wise and to avoid the path of the fool. Keep my heart soft and away from the idea of revenge. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 23

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 23 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2023&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 23

Be careful not to crave things that are out of your price range. (v1-3)

Don’t work for riches or wear yourself out for them; they are fleeting. (v4-5)

Don’t go where you aren’t wanted or where someone begrudges what they give you. (v6-
8)

“Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” (v9)

Do not cross boundaries; they are there for a reason. (v10-11)

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” (v12)

If you love your child and wish to save their life, you must discipline them. (v13-
14)

A father rejoices in a son who is wise. (v15-16).

Don’t be jealous of sinners; be jealous for the Lord and you will have hope. (v17-18)

Listen to instruction and be wise. Do everything in moderation. (v19-21)

Honor your parents and treasure their wisdom. The truth should not be sold for any price. (v22-25)

Stay far from the adulterous woman. (v26-28)

Stay away from alcohol; it causes nothing but trouble. (v29-35)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Teach me to love the things of Your kingdom and not the things of this world. Teach me to keep my eyes on You and not be envious of others. May I be a joy to my parents. Amen

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom; Proverbs 22

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 22 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2022&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 22

A good name means more than anything. Guard your reputation. (v1)

The Lord is the common ground between all of us; He is our maker. (v2)

The wise can see what’s coming and prepare, but the foolish don’t pay attention and they pay the consequences. (v3)

If you are humble, you will be rewarded. (v4)

Walking in the way of the wicked is dangerous; stay far from it. (v5)

Raise your children in the way they should go and they will stick to it. (v6)

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”(v7)

If you are a person who thwarts justice, you will come to ruin, it will not go well for you. (v8)

"The generous will themselves be blessed for they share their food with the poor."(v9)

If you get rid of the one causing the problems (the fool), you will have no more insults and strife. (v10)

One who is pure and gracious will gain favor even in high places. (v11)

"The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but He frustrates the words of the unfaithful. (v12)

I'm not sure the lesson in this one. "The sluggard says, 'There's a lion outside! I'll be killed in the public square!'" (v13)

The adulturous woman is a trap; the unjust fall into it. (v14)

Disciplining a child will rid him of his folly; it's for his best. (v15)

"One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich - both come to poverty." (v16)

Pay attention to my teachings and take them to heart; they will make you wise. (v17-21)

Take care of the poor and fight for justice. (v22-23)

Do not be friends with someone with a hot-temper or who is easily angered lest you become like them. (v24-25)

Do not take or give things on credit. (v26-27)

"Do not move an ancient boudnary stone set up by your ancestors." (v28)

If you are excellent and skilled in your work, you will receive honor. (v29)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
May these sayings of wisdom sink deep into my heart. May I be a person of wisdom, grace and knowledge. May I represent You well by being gracious and having control over my actions and words. Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Who's really in charge here anyway?

It's recently been brought to my attention that I may have an inaccurate view of what "Spiritual Leadership" looks like in a relationship. In fact, I saw my own views reflected back to me and it was a bit unnerving. So, I did what I do whenever I have questions; I asked.

First, I asked the Lord by reading about it in His Word. There are two main passages that talk about submission: Ephesians 5:21-33 and I Peter 3:1-7

And then, I asked several of my married friends how it works in practice. As a yet unmarried person, I have no personal experience with what spiritual leadership within a marriage actually looks like. I can only guess and relate to it in whatever ways I can. But, I believe the Lord calls us to help and depend on one another, especially to see the truth, so I polled my friends.

The answer I found is that I indeed have a limited understanding of what the looks like based on Scripture and my wise friends. It seems that one verse that is often overlooked is Ephesians 5:21 that says we should submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submit to one another. That sounds like a much more beautiful relationship than what I had sometimes pictured. In submitting to one another, it doesn't sound like there's a "Boss" or one who is "in charge" of the other.

In my reading and conversing, I've come to see this "Spiritual Leadership" as a complex and beautiful dance. So much is required of us as believers in how we behave towards one another. The marriage relationship is to mirror Christ's relationship with the Church - His Bride. What an awesome responsbility. What beauty is held within that idea. A marriage is a living, breathing representation of how Christ loves His Bride. I want a marriage like that.

And, so, I'm sure I have a ton left to learn on this and I'd love to hear the input of others. How does it work in your relationship? How have you seen it out of balance? What wisdom can you pass on to this still-single girl who wants one day to be a wife that honors her husband and glorifies God? I'm all ears.

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 21

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 21 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2021&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 21

The Lord controls the ways of kings and nations. (v1)

“A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (v2)

“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” The Lord doesn’t want rote obedience, He wants us to do what is right and just and good. (v3)

“Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the unplowed field of the wicked – produce sin.” The wicked do not till the earth of the heart. (v4)

Diligence leads to success while impatience and hastiness lead to poverty. (v5)

Ill-gotten gains disappear like the wind. (v6)

“The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.” (v7)

If you behave in a devious manner, you are likely guilty, while the innocent are known by the upright ways. (v8)

“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Spouses have such a large impact. To have a spouse that likes to fight is to live in an unhappy home. It’s better to have nothing but a small patch of earth than to live with such a person. (v9)

“The wicked crave evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them.” The hearts of the wicked feast on evil, they chase after it. Their hearts are hard with no room for mercy or compassion. (v10)

You can learn from other people’s mistakes and consequences; you don’t have to experience them yourself. (v11)

The righteous stand up against the wicked; they fight for justice. (v12)

“Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.” You reap what you sow. We see that principle over and over again in Scripture. (v13)

“A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies
great wrath.”(v14)

The righteous rejoice with justice, but it frightens the wicked; they wonder when it will be their turn. (v15)

Stay on the path of righteousness, straying from it leads to death. (v16)

If you are in love with pleasure, not wisdom, you will waste your wealth. (v17)

“The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright. (v18)

Again, it’s better to only have a patch of dirt than to live with a quarrelsome and nagging wife (or to be one). (v19)

The wise prepare for what is ahead. They think ahead. They plan. The poor gobble up what’s in front of them with no thought to the future. (v20)

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you. (v21)

“One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.” (v22)

Keep your mouths and tongues in check. It will save your life. (v23)

“The proud and arrogant person – ‘Mocker’ is his name – behaves with insolent fury.” (v24)

The things the lazy want will be the end of them; they do not prepare for the future or even support themselves in the present. (v25)

You can not satisfy the longings of the lazy. (v26)

The Lord hates the sacrifice of the wicked, especially if they bring it with a wicked heart and intent. (v27)

“A false witness will perish, but a careful listener will testify successfully.” (v28)

The wicked hide behind false bravado; but the upright are thoughtful and careful about their way. (v29)

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.” (v30)

We can prepare and plan all we want, but the victory belongs to the Lord. (v31)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Please prepare me to be a wise and good wife. Lord, may I be a jewel to my husband, and not quarrelsome and contentious. I want to learn Your ways. I want to be master of my tongue instead of ruled by eat. May Your words of wisdom seep deep into my bones that I may be counted among the righteous. Amen

Sunday, March 20, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 20

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 20 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2020&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 20

“Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Alcohol complicates life and makes people make bad choices sometimes. Only the unwise allow alcohol to have that much control in their lives. (v1)

It is unwise to anger a king, or anyone who holds the power of life and death over you. Be careful how you treat those in authority over you. (v2)

“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Those who jump into an argument out of heated passion and don’t stop to think are found among fools. It’s best to stay away from fights and drama. Don’t pick fights. Don’t be easily offended. Avoid Drama. (v3)

If you’re too lazy to plan ahead then you shouldn’t expect to reap at harvest time. (v4)

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” There are things we keep very close to the vest; deep within our hearts. But, a person of wisdom and insight can see past our walls to the heart of what we intend, hope, and desire. (v5)

Just because you claim to have unfailing love doesn’t mean you can truly promise that will always be true. It is in our flesh to be unfaithful; none of us are perfect. (v6)

“The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.” (v7)

Evil is perceptible to the wise. A judge who is faced with evil all of the time knows it when he sees it. (v8)

None of us are perfect; we were born that way. We battle our flesh, but we don’t always win. None of us can say we are pure, clean or without sin. (v9)

The Lord detests dishonesty. (v10)

Have you ever heard of “The Terrible Twos”? Even children show their sinful nature. None of us is perfect, pure or upright. (v11)

The Lord hears and sees all. (v12)

Don’t be lazy or waste your life in sleep. (v13)

“’It’s no good, it’s no good!’ says the buyer – then goes off and boasts about the purchase.” (v14)

We think that gold and precious jewels are hard to find, but what is really hard to find is a wise person with lips that speak knowledge. (v15)

Don’t trust someone who puts up his name for a stranger; hold his property as a pledge. (v16)

Ill gotten gains seem sweet at first, but they turn to rocks in your mouth. There is no long term pleasure in them. (v17)

“Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.” (v18)

“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” Anyone who will gossip to you will likely gossip about you. Choose carefully in whom you confide. (v19)

There is a harsh punishment that awaits the one who curses their father or mother. Don’t forget that one of God’s top ten rules is to honor your father and mother. (v20)

“An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end.”(v21)

The Lord will avenge you; don’t worry about enacting revenge yourself. (v22)

REPETITION: The Lord detests dishonesty. (v23) (see also v 10)

Our paths are directed by God, so they won’t always make sense to us. (v24)

Don’t vow quickly; you trap yourself. If you make a vow without thinking, you are trapped by it and must uphold it. (v25)

A king who is wise will see through the schemes of the wicked and pluck them out. (v26)

“The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.” (v27)

“Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.” Interesting that it doesn’t say by “fear”. If people love a king they will serve him well. (v28)

“The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” (v29)

“Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beating purge the inmost being.” (v30)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me remember that no one is perfect, upright, or pure. We have all sinned and fallen short of Your glory. Help me to see into the hearts of people and see with Your eyes. Lord, I know you are the giver of all wisdom and discernment. I want to walk in Your path. Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 19

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 19 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2019&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 19

“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.” I wish I could understand the way that Solomon pairs things sometimes. There must be a connection between the two part of this sentence, but I don’t quite grasp it. I believe it is a true statement, but I’m not sure how those two things wound up together in a comparison. (v3)

Running ahead of yourself can cause you to miss the way. It’s good to have desires, but it’s important to gain the knowledge and wisdom you need before rushing ahead. (v2)

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.” Ouch. I’ve had many conversations like this one in my lifetime. So often I make a choice that leads to unwanted consequences, but then I’m mad at God for having “done this to me”. Truthfully, we create our own misery most of the time; the Lord is perfect and wants good things for us. (v3)

People can be so shallow. Material possessions are too often the anchors in friendships. It’s sad. (v4)

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.” (v5)

People want to be friends with those who can do something for them. People like to be connected to power and wealth; it’s in our nature. (v6)

“The poor are shunned by all their relatives – how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.” (v7)

“The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.” (v8)

REPETITION = IMPORTANT! “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.” (v9) (see v5)

“It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury – how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!” (v10)

If you have wisdom, you gain patience. To be the one to overlook an offense and be gracious will earn you praise. People will recognize your wisdom in your grace. (v11)

A king’s favor is soft and quiet, but his rage will tear you apart. (v12)

“A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.” Who we are has an effect on the people around us. A child who goes astray breaks the heart of his parents. The wife who likes to fight is as annoying as a leak that is constant and damaging. (v13)

The things you receive, materially, are from your earthly parents. But, if you find a wife who is prudent, she is a gift from the Lord. (v14)

“Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.” (v15)

Rules and commandments are there to protect us. If we fail to follow them, we jeopardize our own lives. (v16)

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done.” Jesus said that anything we do, even unto the least among us, we are doing unto Him. (v17)

“Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” I’ve talked about this recently with some friends who have children. One said to me, “If I saw my son walking down a road that I knew ended with him falling off of a cliff, I would break his legs if I had to, in order to save his life.” I believe that is the kind of discipline and love about which Solomon is speaking. Discipline is no fun for the parent or the child, but in it is life. (v18)

“A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.” People need to experience consequences for their actions. If you save people from the results of their choices, they don’t learn. (v19)

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (v20)

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” We can tell the Lord our plans, but in the end, we will walk out the purpose for which He created us. (v21)

“What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.” Again, I’m not sure why Solomon couples those things. (v22)

“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (v23)

A lazy person is even unwilling to feed himself when the food is right in front of him. (v24)

There is hope for the simple among fools, they may eventually learn prudence if it is beaten into them. But, if you rebuke a wise person, they will learn and grow from it. (v25)

Children have the power to bring disgrace upon their parents. (v26)

Learning must be life long and constant; if you stop listening to instruction, you
stray from wisdom. There is NEVER a point when we have been instructed enough. (v27)

One who lies think it’s hilarious when justice isn’t served; they eat it up when evil things happen. (v28)

“Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.” (v29)


Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me know my Shepherd’s voice and be still to listen. I want to walk in Your way and not miss the blessings you have for me. I want to be wise and counted among the righteous. Help me, Lord. Bury these words deep into my being that I may not sin against You. Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't Kill the Baby

As I have journeyed through Proverbs this month, I have been giving a lot of thought to wisdom and the sayings of Solomon. Recently, I have been reminded of the story of Solomon's wisdom, as it was given from God, and how he used it to administer judgment over the people. The story can be found in I Kings 3.

The Lord gave Solomon wisdom in more abundance than anyone before or since (other than Jesus of course). For those of us seeking to be wise, there is no better teacher. The Lord Himself is the giver of wisdom, but Solomon was His vessel here on earth.

Solomon was given wisdom so that he could rule the people wisely. As an example of that wisdom, I Kings 3 tells the story of how he judged between two women. These two women both had babies within a few days of one another. They also lived in the same house. During the night, one of the babies died and the mother of that child took the living baby as her own. In the light of day, when the other mother awoke, she realized that the dead child was not hers but had been switched in the night.

These two women could not settle their dispute so they were brought before the king. He listened to their story and then asked for a sword. He determined that he would divide the living child in two and they could share him. One mother said to go ahead and cut the child in half, but the other mother plead for his life and said to give him away to the other woman.

Solomon, in his wisdom, told his guards to give the child to the woman who was willing to give him up in order to save his life; she was really his mother.

I think this wisdom is more relevant on a daily basis than we realize. In so many situations, the person demanding justice at any cost is the one who is in the wrong. We get wrapped up in our own desires and the things that we love and would rather see something die than not have our own way. It's such a foolish view of things, but sadly, it's such a human view of things.

So, it has made me step back and look at my own life. I'm learning so much from the Proverbs, and it is having an immediate effect on my decisions. In what ways am I holding onto my own selfish desires to the point that I'd rather see no one have their way if I can't have mine? There have been times lately when I have wanted to defend myself when people have assumed things about me; but I've learned that doing so would be to no one's benefit. There is so much wisdom to be gained at the feet of Jesus and His servant, Solomon.

So, for today I say, don't kill the baby because you can't have your way. Be wise. Seek truth. Hold your tongue. Have compassion and tender-hearted mercy. Don't try to correct someone who doesn't love wisdom; it leads only to pain.

These are all valuable lessons and I'm excited about what the rest of Proverbs holds for me. I can't get enough!

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 18

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 18 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2018&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 18

“An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.” (v1)

Fools aren’t concerned with understanding anything, they are only concerned with getting their opinions and points across. (v2)

The wicked are held in contempt and a reproach brings shame. (v3)

People who are wise are like deep waters and wisdom pours into and out of them like a fountain. (v4)

It’s not good to take sides with the wicked and take part in harming the innocent. (v5)

“The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.” (v6-7)
“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.” Gossip looks and tastes good, but it gets inside of you and corrupts you. (v8)
“One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” A slacker is related to destruction, they are in the same family. (v9)

The name of the Lord is safety for the righteous. (v10)

Wealth gives a false sense of security. (v11)

“Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor”. Not only does pride go before a fall, but a humble heart comes before a person is praised. (v12)

Always listen before you give an answer. Always let them get the whole thing out before you jump in to give a response. (v13)

The spirit is stronger than the body; we can bear a weak body, but not a crushed spirit. (v14)

Those who are discerning want and get knowledge and seek it out. (v15)

“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”(v16)

We always tend to take the sides of the person who speaks first until someone questions them. (v17)

“Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.” (v18)

“A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” (v19)

We reap what we sow. (v20)

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (v21)

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”(v22)

“The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.” Compassion and wealth don’t necessarily go together. (v23)

“One who had unreliable friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (v24)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Remind me to be humble when I start to become proud. Help me keep a hold on my tongue. I want to be wise. I want to be reliable. I want to be a joy to my parents, my friends, my family. Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 17

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 17 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2017&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 17

It’s better to have barely anything to eat with peace and quiet than to have more than you need with strife. (v1)

A servant who is wise will gain the favor of the father over a foolish son, and share in the inheritance as if he is family. (v2)

The Lord tests our hearts as heat is used to test gold and silver. (v3)

“A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.” A discerning person would know better and would be able to identify the lie and would ignore the destructive tongue. (v4)

“Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.” It is not ok to make fun of someone’s situation; who knows what the Lord may be doing or how His heart may be grieved. Gloating over disaster brings punishment, in some way, shape or form. We are to be tender hearted and full of compassion. (v5)

Grandchildren are a blessing and children take pride in their parents. (v6)

Smooth talking doesn’t seem to fit a godless fool and lying lips on a ruler are just disaster waiting to happen. (v7)

People who bribe others to get their way think it’s some sort of magic; they think they can buy success no matter where they go. (v8)

We can make things right by building up love and focusing on the good things. We can cover over mistakes. We can give grace. But, if we choose to repeat the wrongs, relationships are destroyed and may never be recovered. (v9)

You don’t have to actually inflict physical pain on a discerning person for them to learn a lesson, a rebuke is enough. It’s not so for the fool. (v10)

“Evildoers foster rebellion against God; the messenger of death will be sent against them.” (v11)

It’s better to meet an angry mother bear who has lost her cubs than to run into a fool who has his heart set on doing something foolish. (v12)

If you seek revenge or cause problems for those who are good to you, you will always be pursued by evil. (v13)

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” Don’t pick fights, you may not be able to reclaim or hold back what
you’ve started. Nip it in the bud. (v14)

The Lord detests injustice. (v15)

Fools can’t understand wisdom, so why would they spend any amount of money to find it? (v16)

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (v17)

Don’t put your name on the line for someone else. (v18)

“Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invited destruction.” There are people who really love to fight, they rejoice in seeing people and relationships torn apart. These people love fighting because they love sin. (v19)

“One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.” (v20)

“To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.” (v21)

When we are happy, it’s good for our bodies; when our spirits are crushed, it’s reflected in our poor health. (v22)

The wicked meet in back alleys and dark corners to swap bribes for favors and keep justice from being done. (v23)

“A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.”(v24)

“A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him.” (v25)

Imposing a harsh punishment on the innocent and honest is not good. (v26)

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” The wise person only speaks when necessary and is even-tempered. If a fool can keep quiet, they can appear wise. (v27-28)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
I want to be a blessing to my parents, not one who grieves. I don’t want to be like the fool or the godless. Teach me to hold my tongue. Remind me of Your wisdom before I speak and help me stay silent if my words are not helpful or wise. Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 16

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 16 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2016&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 16

You can make all the plans you want, but the Lord is in control. (v1)

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” Sometimes we may not even know when our motives aren’t pure, but the Lord always knows. If we are humble before Him, He reveals these things to us. (v2)

A promise: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” We don’t have to figure this whole thing out. If we commit our ways to the Lord, He will show us the path and help us along it. (v3)

The Lord is in control. He works out all things. He makes sure we reap what we sow. (v4)

“The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” What strong language Solomon uses sometimes. Pride is a deadly sin. It’s one that can take hold of us so tightly. Be humble and find life. (v5)

Love and faithfulness covers our sins, but if we fear the Lord, we avoid evil. (v6)

The Lord can cause your enemies to make peace with you if He is pleased with you. That’s a good weapon to have in your arsenal! (v7)

Righteousness is always better than to gain something by causing pain to another. (v8)

We can make our plans, but it is the Lord who directs our steps. (v9)

The Lord uses those in authority to speak truth and establish His justice. (v10)

The Lord is with those who are honest in business; all righteousness in business belongs to Him. (v11)

There are many things that are true of kings (or should be true of kings). They detest wrongdoing and seek righteousness. They value honesty. They hold the power of life and death. (v12-15)

Wisdom and insight are much better to have than all of the riches in the world. (v16)
Guard your way. Avoid Evil. Take the high road. It will save your life. (v17)

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (v18)

“Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” (v19)

It is wise to follow instructions and you will be blessed if you trust in the Lord. (v20)

“The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” (v21)

If you are a prudent person, it flows from you like a fountain, the same way that folly is the sign of a fool. (v22)

When you are wise, your heart controls your mouth and your lips give instructions. (v23)

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” That’s so beautiful and so true! (v24)

Sometimes we think we are doing what is right, but in the end, it leads to our destruction. Be careful. Be wise. Seek the Lord. (v25)

A person who is hungry uses that drive to compel them to work. (v26)

The wicked plot evil; it burns within them. (v27)

“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Again, our words have so much power. It is so important to control your tongue. It really does hold the power of life and death, of blessing and curse. (v28)

A violent person looks for and stirs up a fight and drags people along with them. (v29)

You can tell by someone’s facial expressions if they are up to something. (v30)

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” (v31)

“Better is a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” To be able to wait, not defend, not judge immediately, control your tongue and all of those things that go with it, gives you great strength and great power. (v32)

The Lord controls “fate”. He rules over everything. (v33)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
I want to be stronger than a warrior because of the control I gain over myself, my thoughts, my words, my tongue. Lord, help me to be wise. Help me be slow to speak. May my words be gracious and sweet as honeycomb. May they reflect Your love. Amen

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 15

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 15 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2015&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 15

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. So many times Solomon says not to argue with a fool or with someone who doesn’t want correction; I think this verse goes along with that. In many cases, people like to stir up arguments, but a gentle answer will take the wind out of their sails. But, if you take the bait, and respond with a harsh word, it keeps the argument going. (v1)

Wisdom is spoken of as an adornment, something that beautifies while foolishness is always spoken of in hasty and unpleasant terms. (v2)

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”(v3)

Have you ever been soothed by a sweet word or crushed by a harsh one? If yes, then you understand the power of the tongue. Again, the power of life and death is in the tongue. (v4)

“A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.” Disobedience and foolishness are bedfellows. (v5)

Ill-gotten gains bring ruin but the righteous store up treasures. (v6)

The wise share their wisdom. Solomon pairs something interesting here, “The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.” I’m not sure how the two relate. Is he saying that the wise share their knowledge because they are upright of heart? (v7)

The wicked do not please God, but He loves those who pursue Him. (v8-9)

“Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die.” Such strong words! It’s so true that the Lord sternly disciplines us when we leave the path, it could eventually lead to our death. Strong words. (v10)
The Lord can see all that happens, it all lies open before Him, how much more then does He know what is in our hearts? (v11)

“Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.” I’ve done this when I have felt guilty about something or been convicted about something; I’ve avoided the wise people in my life. I think it’s easy to remain in what you’re doing wrong if you remove all of the wise influences from your life. That’s why accountability is so important. Sometimes the very lives of the wise convict us, they don’t even have to say anything, so people who feel guilty avoid them entirely. (v12)

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”Our emotions are reflected in our being. (v13)

“The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” “Feeds on folly” is a great picture of what it is like when foolishness gets whipped into a frenzy; it feeds on itself. (v14)

Life is about attitude, if you feel oppressed you will have wretched days, but if you have a cheerful heart, your days will reflect that. (v15)

It is better to fear the Lord and not have much than to have great wealth and turmoil. (v16-17)

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” Again, being slow to speak is wise while the fool is hot-tempered and stirs up conflict. (v18)

“The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.” (v19)

“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.” The relationship between a child and his parents shows his level of wisdom. (v20)

Someone who had no sense rejoices in things that are foolish, but one who has understanding keeps moving straight ahead. (v21)

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”(v22)

“A person find joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word!” It is important to respond promptly; it shows wisdom, understanding, and concern for others. (v23)

The path of the prudent leads to life. (v24)

“The Lord tears down the house of the proud, but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.”(v25)

The Lord loves gracious words. (v26)

“The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live.”(v27)

“The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.” Patience. Speak before you think. (v28)

“The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayers of the righteous.”(v29)

“Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”(v30)

“Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.” The wise listen to instruction. (v31)

“Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.” Heeding discipline and correction is the mark of the wise. (v
32)

“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.” (v33)


Dear Father of Wisdom,
Teach me to love Your discipline for I know it saves me. Teach me to be wise and slow to speak and respond. I want to have a tongue that soothes and heals. Amen

Monday, March 14, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 14

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 14 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2014&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 14

"The wise woman builder her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down". A wise woman builds up, she encourages, she works hard. The foolish one gets in her own way. (v1)

You will know those who fear the Lord by the way they walk and those who hate Him by where they choose to walk. (v2)

"A fool's mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect him". Again, Solomon talks about the tongue. It really can get us into trouble or keep us safe. (v3)

You must have the right tools to get the job done. If you don't, your storehouses will be empty. (v4)

"An honest witness does not decieve, but a false witness pours out lies". Repetition. Solomon says this over and over again. (v5)

Knowledge comes easily to those who are discerning, but no matter how hard the mocker looks, wisdom evades him. (v6)

Stay away from a foolish person, there's nothing good to be found there. (v7)

The wise and prudent think about what they do before they act; not so with the foolish. (v8)

The foolish think it's funny to make amends for wrongs, but the righteous develop good will among people. (v9)

"Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy." No one can really know how deeply you feel bitterness or joy; it's your own to know. (v10)

The wicked will be destroyed, but the upright will be blessed. (v11)

Just because a way looks right, doesn't mean it is. Choose carefully. Be wise. (v12)

Just because someone laughs doesn't mean they are free of pain or far from grief. (v13)

We will reap what we sow; good or bad. (v14)

The foolish are gullible, but the prudent are cautious and thoughtful. (v15)

"The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure." (v16)

A quick temper gets you into trouble. If you plot against others, you wind up being hated. (v17)

Knowledge is the crown of the wise, but the simple are covered in foolishness. (v18)

The wicked will be made to bow down before the good. (v19)

"The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends." (v20)

Despising someone is sinful, but is a blessing to be kind to those who are in need. (v21)

Good things come to those who seek after and plan good things. Those who plot evil get lead astray. (v22)

If you work hard, you will earn your wage, but mere talk gets you no where. (v23)

"The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly". (v24)

Truth saves. Truth always saves. (v25)

The Lord is a refuge for the wise; their children are safe within it. (v26)

"The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death." (v27)

"A large population is a king's glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined". (v28)

It takes great understanding to be patient, but fools have quick tempers. (v29)

When your heart is at peace, your body can be healthy. If you are full of envy, it seeps into your bones and rots them. (v30)

The Lord honors those who give to the needy.(v31)

"When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God." (v32)

Wisdom rests in the heart of those who have discernment, but even fools can see and know her. (v33)

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people." (v34)

When you are wise, you gain respect and delight, but being foolish earns anger and shame. (v35)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
I want to be wise. I want to be safe in truth, in honesty. Teach me to guard my lips and hold my tongue. Amen

Sunday, March 13, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 13

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 13 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2013&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 13

Solomon repeats again that wisdom is listening to your parents. Repetition is important, especially in wisdom literature. (v1)

What we put in is what we get out. And, it becomes a vicious cycle. If we take in good things, we will have good things from our lips to enjoy. If we are unfaithful, our appetites are fed and become darker. (v2)

“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin”. Control over the tongue is so important. Waiting to speak is imperative. Life and death can be the difference. (v3)

If you are lazy, you will always be hungry for more. If you work hard, you will be satisfied. (v4)

The righteous hate lies. The wicked are foul and disgraceful. (v5)

Righteousness and integrity goes hand in hand. (v6)

I’m not sure why Solomon puts some of these things in here. I wonder if some are just observations of what he saw; some seem true, but maybe not universally true. I’m not sure what wisdom to garner from: “One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another person pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. A person’s riches may ransom their life, but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes.” (v7-8)

The righteous shine brightly while the light of the wicked goes out. (v9)

“Where there is strive, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” (v10)

There’s no quick payday. Dishonest money slips through your fingers. Gathering money little by little, being diligent, is the way to make it grow. (v11)

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life”. (v12)

If you don’t listen to instruction, it will cost you. But whoever respects authority turns from the way of death. (v13-14)

Those with good judgment are honored, but the unfaithful walk into trouble. (v15)

You can tell the prudent because they act with knowledge. Fools show exactly how foolish they are. (v16)

If you’re out to stir trouble, you will fall into trouble; but if your intent is trustworthy, you will bring healing. (v17)

“Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.” Repetition = important. (v18)

“A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.” It’s interesting to me how Solomon paired things. Is he trying to say that our longings are fulfilled when we turn from evil? (v19)

Our companions make a difference. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”. (v20)

You get what’s coming to you: sinners get trouble while the righteous get good things. (v21)

Good people store up wealth for generations, but the wealth of sinners is lost. (v22)

“An unplowed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away.”(v23)

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” (v24)

The righteous are provided for, but the wicked go hungry. (v25)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me trust You with my longings. May the fruit of my lips come from ingesting your Word. May I be a blessing. Amen

Saturday, March 12, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom: Proverbs 12

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 12 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2012&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 12

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” Such a harsh statement, but it’s true. It’s the foolish who refuse to listen to the voice of wisdom. Even though discipline is tough to take, it’s for our best. Ouch. (v1)

“Good people obtain favor from the Lord, but He condemns those who devise wicked schemes. No one can be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted”. The first part is believable; the Lord favors the righteous but condemns the wicked. But, sometimes it doesn’t feel true that no one can be established through wickedness. It is true, and often , if you peel back the layers, you can see the truth. But, it’s hard to believe through human eyes sometimes. (v2-3)

We reflect upon our spouses. What we say and do says something about them. A wife can be a blessing or death to her husband. (v4)

Don’t listen to the counsel of the wicked, it is deceitful; but you can trust the righteous. (v5).

Even the words of the wicked are out for blood, but the words of the righteous are life and rescue. (v6)

The wicked do not succeed, no matter what it looks like; but the righteous are deeply planted and strong. (v7)

“A person is praised according to their prudence, and one with a warped mind is despised.” (v8)

Pretension costs more than it’s worth. (v9)

Even when the wicked think they are being kind, they are being cruel. The righteous have compassion for all living things. (v10)

The wise work hard and have enough but the foolish chase after the wind. (v11)

The wicked dig in with others like them and are trapped by their sinful talk. But the innocent escape and their roots go deep. (v12 – 13)

If we speak truth and goodness and work hard, we will reap good things. (v14)

A fool doesn’t think he needs advice but the wise know better. (v15)

“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult” (v16)

Honest people tell the truth and liars lie. Such a simple truth. So true. (v17)

Words have the power to pierce or heal. What will you choose? (v18)

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment”. (v19)

Thos who plot evil are deceitful to their core, but those who are peaceful are joyful. (v20)

The righteous are safe, but the wicked are always dealing with trouble. (v21)

“The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.” (v22-23)

If you are a hard worker and diligent, you will rule over those who are lazy. (v24)

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (v25)

Choose your friends carefully, as your friends go, so you go. (v26)

The lazy go hungry while the diligent have their fill. (v27)

Righteousness leads to life and immortality. (v28)

Father of Wisdom,
May these words soak into my very being. May I learn to watch my tongue. May I learn to truly love correction and discipline as it leads to life. May I be a blessing to those who know and love me because I am obedient to Your word and wisdom. Amen.

Friday, March 11, 2011

31 Days of Wisdom - Proverbs 11

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 11 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2011&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

Proverbs 11
Be fair and honest in business. (v1)

Those who are proud will be disgraced, but those who are humble gain wisdom. (v2)

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity”. (v3)

At the end of life, money won’t matter, but righteousness will. (V4)

The righteous can walk their path without fear, but the wicked will be foiled by their own schemes. (v5-6)

Don’t place your hope in mortals or their power – they will fail you. (v7)

The Lord rescues the righteous. (v8)

Gossip and slander are the destructive tools of the godless, but knowledge and truth are the escape for the righteous. (v9)

When the righteous win and the wicked fail, there is much celebration. (v10)

Gossip and unruly lips are destructive, but the wise hold their tongue and keep a secret. (v11-13)

Guidance and advice leads to victory. (v14)

Don’t pledge for a stranger. (v15)

Kindness has benefits and brings honor while the ruthless and cruel are brought to ruin. (v16-17)

The wicked earn deceptive wages and find death while the righteous find life and a sure reward. (v18-19)

“Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free”. (v21)

A beautiful woman without discretion is truly ugly. (v22)

“The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath” (v23)

It’s counterintuitive to the world, but he who gives is rich while the selfish are truly poor. (v24-26)

If you seek out good things, they will find you, but so will evil if you search for it. (v27)

You can’t trust in riches. (v28)

“Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.” (v29)

Righteousness and wisdom save lives. Everyone will reap what they sow – good or bad. (v30-31)

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me hold my tongue and guard my lips that I may be counted among the righteous. Amen

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You're no better than me

I had a dream last night that is really bothering me. In this dream, several people were angry with me. There were varied reasons for their anger, but a couple of them made sure to say to me, "You're no better than me."

I couldn't agree more.

Dreams often speak truth to me. Sometimes they are just my brain processing and compiling events and are just a physiological response. But, sometimes they are more than that. Sometimes they are the Lord's way of whispering to our heart in movie format. So, I don't usually just dismiss my dreams.

I'm sure I'll be chewing on this one for a day or two at least.

There are things I already know have contributed to this dream. First of all, I have received some praise lately, and that always makes me nervous. It is very easy to allow those kind words to go to my head. In the past, I've been imprisoned by praise. When someone thought I was wonderful, I felt like I had to always be perfect and never let them down. I allowed my pride to become like chains around me. I was held captive by the fear of failure.

I believe that things that are secret have power. Things that are done in darkness always threaten you with exposure into the light. So, I don't like secrets and I do my best to do nothing in darkness. I don't want those things to have power over me.

So, in light of that and in response to my dream, I'd like to make a confession.

I'm no better than you, maybe I'm worse. I know the things in my heart that fight for the attention and affection that should belong to the Lord alone. Romans 3:23 tells me that "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and 3:10 says "There is no one righteous, not even one". So, from my birth, I've been a fallen creature, full of imperfection, and prone to wander.

I know that I hurt people, even people that I love dearly. I don't usually mean to, but there have been times in my life when I have meant to hurt someone. I'm ashamed to say that. I'm sorry for the moments when I've been too consumed with myself or my situation to see the need of the person in front of me. I grieve over the moments I've lost to share the story of redemption because I was too caught up in my own sin, shame, or worthlessness.

I've gossipped. I've delighted in the failure of another, thinking they got what they deserved. I've lied. At some point in my life, I've probably broken most of God's commandments. And, even if I haven't, His standard is so high that He says to lust is the same as committing adultery, to hate is the same as murder. So, I am the worst of sinners, in desperate need of grace.

And, thank God for His grace. Without it, I would be lost. Without the hope that comes from knowing I am His child and His love never fails, I would be destroyed. I wouldn't even be able to lift my head.

I just read this passage from the Psalms and it filled my heart with joy:

Psalm 32:1-5 (The Message)

A David Psalm
1 Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean.

2 Count yourself lucky— GOD holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from him.

3 When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans.

4 The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.

5 Then I let it all out; I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD."
Suddenly the pressure was gone— my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.


So, to the people in my dream, let me assure you that I know I'm no better than you. It's no secret. I'm no good at all. It's only by the grace and power of Jesus that I can do anything. And, that's ok by me.

31 Days of Wisdom - Proverbs 10

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 10 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2010&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

The Proverbs of Solomon

This chapter could be studied for a full month, maybe a lifetime. Each verse is a vibrant and rich truth and worth hiding in your heart.

If you are wise, you bring joy to your parents. If you are foolish, you grieve your parents. (v1)

Things you have not earned bring no lasting joy, but righteousness saves your life. (v2)

The Lord looks after His children. Work hard. Think ahead. Store up for hard times. Work during the harvest. (v3-5)

The righteous are blessed but the wicked meet with violence. In fact, when people speak blessings they speak the name of the righteous, but the names of the wicked become putrid and reek of death. (v6-7)

The wise do as they are told and respect authority. Fools run their mouths and come to ruin. (v8)

Those with honor and integrity have no reason to fear; they can sleep soundly. But those who lie, cheat and steal will be found out. Crooked paths do not lead where you think they will. (v9)

Passive aggressive or secretly wicked behavior causes grief. Solomon repeats: “a chattering fool comes to ruin”. When there is repetition, it’s important to take note. (v10)

Those who are righteous speak life into others while the wicked lie and conceal. (v11)

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs”. Those who hate will fight. They look for it. They seek out arguments. But love keeps the peace and covers over all wrongs. (v12)

The discerning are wise but the foolish receive discipline. (v13)
Get knowledge. Store it up. Quit talking. (v14)

The wealthy are rich because they plan ahead. Poverty is about more than money. (v15)

Righteousness = life. Wickedness = sin and death. (v16)

When we are obedient and listen to instruction, we light the path of life for others. But, if we ignore correction, we drag others down with us. (v17)

Lying is a byproduct of hatred. Slander is the work of the fool. (v18)

Much talking does nothing to end sin. The prudent hold their tongue and let the foolish reap the consequences of their sin. (v19)

The words of the righteous are valuable while the heart of the wicked is useless. (v20)

The righteous know how to nourish and encourage people with their words, but “fools die for lack of sense”. (v21)

When the Lord chooses to bless, it is not from painful toil but because it is a gift from God. (v22)

A fool gets excited by the plans to ruin others, but a wise person gets excited by wisdom. (v23)

The fear of the wicked will take hold of them, but the hopes of the righteous will be fulfilled. (v24)

The wicked will be blown away in the wind like chaff, but the righteous will forever stand firm. (v25)

What a picture! I had a physical reaction to this verse. The lazy are so undesirable that they are as “vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes”. So unpleasant! (v26)

Following the Lord adds length to life but wickedness shortens your days. (v27)
Joy comes in the morning for the righteous but the ways of the wicked turn to dust. (v28)

The Lord is a safe harbor for the innocent, but the wicked are dashed upon the rocks. (v29)

The roots of the righteous run deep but the wicked will be plucked from the land. The righteous bear the fruit of wisdom, but the wicked will be silenced. (v30-31)
The righteous know what is beautiful while the wicked only know what is dirty and
perverse. (v32)


Father of Wisdom,
Let Your words soak into my heart. May they circulate in my thoughts so that I may meditate on their truth. Lord, I don’t want to be like the foolish or wicked; cast away as so much chaff. Teach me Your ways, Lord, and help me walk in them. Amen.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Words I Would Say

I have several friends who are going through tough times right now. I feel so inadequate to speak into their pain. When someone is grieving or in pain, words seem to fall flat and offer no real comfort.

In times like these, for me, I turn to music and look for hope and healing. It seems the combination of lyrics, rhythm, instruments and voices speak into the darkest parts of my heart.

So, for all of my friends who are down, grieving, or in pain at the moment, I'd like to share some music that captures the spirit of "The Words I Would Say".



If the video above doesn't load, you may access it at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thLdWPr32yY

31 Days of Wisdom - Proverbs 9

Please visit the link below if you would like to read through Proverbs 9 before continuing.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%209&version=NIV

Disclaimer: This is a personal journey of discovery for me. I am not claiming any special wisdom or exposition of my own, only sharing how 31 days of wisdom affect me and stir my spirit. I highly suggest, no matter who is speaking or sharing, that you check their words against the words of Scripture.

The invitations of wisdom and folly

Wisdom is prepared. She has built her house and set her table. She invites the simple to her home, to dinner, to receive her instruction. (v1-6)

It does no good to correct those who do not love wisdom. You will receive abuse and insults from those who are wise in their own eyes. But the wise and righteous will listen and grow because of it. (v7-9)

That last section is so wise and something we don’t think about often. Wisdom is wasted on those who do not love her. They don’t have the eyes to see or the ears to hear. Just as we are not to judge people outside of the faith based on the standards we ourselves are held to, so should we be careful about rebuking those who don’t want wisdom. Solomon tells us that it is a risky business. Wisdom calls out to these people, but she is not aggressive like folly or the adulterous woman. She allows them the choice. In fact, it says, “Do no rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” So, it’s best to leave fools to their folly and their own destruction and correct only those who love wisdom so that they may be wise.

Wisdom adds to your life while those who mock will suffer. (v10-12)

Folly, in contrast to wisdom, is unruly and crass. She too calls out to the simple, but she lies to them. She entices them. But, death is inside her door. (v13-18)

Choose wisdom. Folly leads to destruction.

Dear Father of Wisdom,
Help me to hear Wisdom’s call. Help me decipher between wisdom and folly. Give me discernment when people ask for correction or need rebuke. May I only speak in an effort to increase wisdom and bring someone closer to You. May I receive and love correction, rebuke and instruction because I know it makes me more like you. Amen

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I Just Don't Care Anymore

As I was walking the other night, I spent some time thinking. (This is a common past time for me). But, that particular night, I was thinking about the labels that others have given me to wear over the years. I'm not going to go into them specifically here, that's a blog for another time. But, I have been carrying around labels that people have placed on me as if they were true reflections of who I am.

Some of these labels have been good, if hard to live up to. Some have been negative, and I've struggled under their weight. Others have been untrue, but somehow I've come to believe them.

Some of the label makers have been family or friends while others have been acquaintances or even strangers. Each used their favorite type of stitch or glue to affix their brand to me, to my psyche. Each had their own purpose or claim to ignorance in doing so.

I've carried these labels and hurtful words with me for years. Some stitches have left unsightly scars, even if I have been able to tear the brand away from my skin. Some are still sore to the touch. Others suffocate me and make it hard to breathe.

But, this is no way for a child of God to live. No way at all. In the last few weeks, I've let go of my anger and resentment towards these people. I'm not sure I even realized it is what I was doing at the time. And, as I was walking the other night, I thought to myself, I just don't care what they think anymore.

And, for the first time in my life, I realized that was actually a true statement. I don't care. They don't define me. My situation doesn't define me. What defines me is the fact that I am a child of God (John 1:12). Nothing else should matter and I've let it matter for far too long. I've allowed those labels to leech life out of me. But, by the grace of God and with the accountability of my friends, no more!

We, as humans, judge by such limited perspectives sometimes. Only the Lord can judge the heart of a person or understand the picture as a whole. So, His judgment is the only thing that should matter. And, thank God for His grace that makes us complete in Him (Colossians 2:10)