Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 3:11-12

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 11

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Today Solomon shares his wisdom on God’s discipline. Let’s top up our coffees and see what he has to say…

Proverbs 3:11-12

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,

because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

When our children were little, going out for dinner was a big deal. We didn’t have a lot of money so we didn’t do it often. For me, it was such an exciting time to go out, to have a great meal without being the one who had to prepare it, and to be out in a social setting. However, these few and far between times were also learning opportunities where our children learned good behaviour. You see, our guiding rule was that we either stayed home or siblings had to get along with one another, there were to be no temper tantrums, and everyone needed to be on their best behaviour. If we arrived and behaviours were not conducive to the guidelines, after receiving a warning which usually was the ‘look’, we would leave- literally get up and leave. Yes, we would get up and leave each and every time the kids couldn’t get their behaviors in check, in order for us to follow through with our ‘restaurant or outing’ guidelines. However, it didn’t take long for the kids to learn how to behave if they wanted to go out, which they did. Our children became a joy to take out and they would help keep each other in check because they knew it only needed to take one of them to act up and we were gone.

To be honest, looking back, I am thankful that my husband did not care what other people thought. He did not care that the other patrons were staring at us and our brood of children and bags. He did not care that we may have inconvenienced the waitress. He only cared about having children who knew how to be respectful and considerate in public settings and with each other. I on the other hand, in my selfish desire to stay and socialize and get out of making dinner, did not want to go; it killed me inside each time to get up and leave. Yet, my momentary desire to stay would have nullified the learning opportunity  and the real life lessons that it took for our children to become the caring, respectful adults they continue to be today. (Oh how it would have been easier to just stay and not follow through with what we said we would do. I can totally understand many parents’ responses of empty threats, but I would 100% encourage them to follow through, no matter how embarrassing or heartbreaking.)

In the same way, this is what Solomon is saying about God and his discipline towards us. God in his great love towards us, wants to raise up his children to be the best and safest they can be. He has given us guidelines to help us. He does not want his children throwing temper tantrums or doing things that will endanger their lives or souls. He loves us too much. He will guide us, follow through with the consequences of our ill behaviour, and continue to train and discipline us. God never lies; he never extends empty threats/promises. He will always follow through. Although we may as parents, be weak and not follow through, we can trust that God will always follow through.  

Solomon’s words are closely related to Jesus’ words in John 15:1-2, I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Being pruned, having part of me cut off, is not fun or pleasing at the time, but in the long run, makes us better. God’s discipline is his pruning in us because of his great love for us.

So as dearly loved children, in the midst of trials and things in your life that are making you adjust your ways to be more in-line with his, don’t turn you back on God or be angry at him, but be thankful. Be thankful you have a Lord who loves you dearly and doesn’t care what the world thinks. He only cares about you and making you the best you can be according to his will, and you will be better for it. Trust him!

Prayer: Being disciplined is not pleasing at the time, but I know it is only because you love me, like any parent who loves and wants what’s best for their children.  Help me to continue to seek you in the midst of hard times, help me to become whom you desire me to be as your child. Also, I ask that you be with all parents as they train up their children. Give them the strength and love for their children to follow through with their promises both in good and misbehaving times. Thank-you for Jesus who followed through with the punishment that should have been mine because of your desire to have me spend eternity with you. In his precious name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 3:9-10

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 10

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well. Today’s words from Solomon, the richest man that ever lived, is about our wealth.  Who better to learn from?Let’s top up our coffees and see what he has to say…

 

Proverbs 3:9-10

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops;

then your barns will be filled to overflowing

and your vats will brim over with new wine.

piggy bank

Doesn’t today’s words sound like an oxymoron? Give your wealth and first fruits away, and you will be overflowing with greater wealth. Well, that certainly is not how the world works. You give your stuff away and you don’t have anything. Yet, that is not how God works.

In this passage, like last week, it comes down to trust and your personal relationship with the Lord. It is basically saying, “As you trust that all you have are blessings from the Lord, give the best of what you have back to him first as a thank offering. Such trusting actions honour our Lord -yes, but he, in return, will continue to bless you to overflowing.

I have experienced this recently. In our school board, our adult education courses for high school credits are independent study, which means that the learners work on their lessons at home and then hand in their completed lessons. The lessons then go to qualified high school teachers for marking. I am a marker of such courses. Well I had about ten courses I marked but six of them were great for getting your foot in the door as a marker but not nearly my favourite, nor did they have a lot of people taking them.

Well, those particular six courses were not my favourite but I hung on to them because I coveted, yes coveted, losing the income from marking the lessons. I had put up with these courses, for a few years now, and pretty much rolled my eyes every time I got a lesson from one of them. So… why was I keeping them, you ask? Greed: I wanted the income from them. However, I saw instructors desperately trying to get their foot in the door to mark, who would appreciate these courses, and who would be thankful for the income they generated. After much time and prayer, I was moved to offer them to another instructor who had been hoping, and probably praying also, for the opportunity to get her foot in the marking world. Not only was I thrilled that she was overjoyed and thankful, appreciative and undoubtedly will do right by those courses, God blessed me in the process too. The week after I handed the courses and their materials over to my colleague, I received so many lessons in my remaining courses that I felt like Peter in his boat with his nets overflowing with fish. It was like God was saying, “Thank you! You need not fear. Even though you have less, I will sustain you with what you have.”

Although we can, and should, relate our thoughts of giving of our wealth back to the church in our offering, I believe it is also in our everyday life that God calls us to give of our first fruits as well, especially when we see others in need. Whenever we let go of our own ‘wealth’ and prayerfully give it to others, that we are doing those “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (Ephesians 2:10b) and by doing so, we honour God and are the instrument through whom the Holy Spirit is working to bless and answer prayers made by others.

So, may I encourage you to earnestly pray to have the courage and trust to give back to the Lord your first fruits, not left overs, in your church offering and in any other area of life where you may be feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit to give something away. In fact I challenge you to prayerfully take up the task to try to ‘out give’ the Lord. His blessings in return will always be greater than what you could ever give. Try it. I dare you.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, your blessings are new every morning, yet I so selfishly cling to every little thing as if it is mine and I earned it. I fear the unknowns and of not having enough if I give things away, even when it is for the good of your church. Please forgive me. Give me the wisdom to give back to you through the church and others that which you desire from me and grant me the courage to do so. I desire to honour you and to be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 3:7:8

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 9

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

This week’s devotion is timely with Halloween only being a couple days away. I hope this devotion gives you something to think about each time you go for some of that junk food. Let’s top up our coffees and get into it so you can see what I mean.

Proverbs 3:7-8

Do not be wise in your own eyes;  fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

junk-food.jpg

Junk food. Don’t you just love junk food? Candies, salty chips, pastries, fried foods. I don’t know one person that doesn’t have a weakness for some sort of junk food. For me it’s salt & vinegar potato chips. 

When faced with junk food or a healthy food, even if we don’t choose the junk food, we certainly have a time of temptation in denying that junk food and begrudgingly choosing the healthy food. Why is this? We know in our rational thinking that the healthy food will build up our bodies and nourish them to be the best functioning bodies we could have, and we also know that junk food, although it tastes good at intake, doesn’t really provide anything beneficial to our bodies. In fact, there is nothing beneficial about it. It only adds excess weight and contributes to an unhealthy, ill functioning body. Yet, we crave this thing that is so detrimental to us, and so easily dismiss the thing that is so good for us.

Well, have you ever thought about arrogance like processed junk food whereas humility is like the most healthiest, nutrient-filled natural food? To be honest, I hadn’t until Solomon confronted me with these two little verses as stated above. Yet, it is so true. God desires ours bodies with their physical, emotional and psychological dimensions to be strong and healthy. Each aspect is directly connected to the other. Our overall health of body, mind, and soul is dependent upon the choices we make with regards to  our food, actions and attitude.

Therefore, thinking wiser of yourself- i.e. arrogance, considering yourself better than the next person, or diminishing a person for the sake of building yourself up- is like feasting on junk food. Sure it may feel good at the time of intake but it certainly does not add, but diminishes, to your healthy and well-being, not to mention the overall health of the Body of Christ. In most cases, you walk away from the indulgence with regret, aloneness and a sense of alienation and guilt which sucks the health from your bones.

Whereas fearing the Lord and shunning evil which is summed up nicely in Micah 6:8 –To act justly and to love mercy  and to walk humbly with your God– is like feasting on healthy food. Turning aside from the desire to puff ourselves up and choosing to be humble and just is the same for our bodies and well-being as turning aside the junk food and choosing the healthy food. In so doing, we have nourished our soul and built up our relationships with both God and man which exudes a sense of peace and joy which feeds our selves with the best of Godly nutrients.

Therefore, next time you desire to dive into that junk food or puffing yourself up, take a step back and say a prayer that God will give you the strength to overcome the such temptation and to do what is best in his eyes so that you can be and have the healthiest body possible.

Prayer: Dear Lord, it is so easy to think of myself better than I am, or to puff myself up. Yet, it can be so difficult at times to be humble. Help me to choose humility over arrogance and attention. Help me not to be envious and to try to one-up others. Help me to live justly, to be merciful, and to walk humbly with you and all the people you set along my daily path.  Help me to be healthy and strong in body, mind and soul. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 3:5-6

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 8

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Today’s words from Solomon have reminded me of an experience my husband and I, as well as good friends of ours, had while in San Francisco this past summer.  Let’s top up our coffees and I’ll try to explain the connection…

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

We went to San Francisco this past summer. What a place! During one of the first days we were there we found Lombard St. Well, to drive down the famous section of Lombard St. with all its zigs and zags, you first must drive up the other side of this steep mountainous road. As we were driving up, I was getting more nervous and more nervous. The incline seemed at least 45 degrees, although after some research it was only about an 18 degree incline. In any case, it was a steep road. As we were getting closer, and closer to the top, a van, two vehicles ahead of us, stopped and from under its hood, regurgitated a huge puff of black smoke. The thoughts of that vehicle rolling backwards into us, or us being stuck on that God forsaken stretch of road was enough to send me into a flurry of panic, which I was certainly feeling begin to boil up with in me. However, as I looked across to my husband who was driving, there came over me an absolute sense of peace. There is no one I know who is as calm of a driver in stressful situations as he; nor is there any other driver I know, who somehow can see and sense all that is going on around him. So despite my fear and desire to scream and get off this roller coaster, I closed my eyes and prayed for Rick and trusted in his ability to get us up the steep and narrow road, past the broken down vehicle, through the congested intersection at the peak of the hill, and down the other side.

As I reflect on that experience, I remember being a bit caught up by the sense of peace that I experienced. It didn’t mean that all my internal anxiety left me, nor that those thoughts of possible doom didn’t come to the forefront of my mind. No, I still felt them, but I didn’t give into them. In having the peace in knowing that I was in the best possible hands to get me through this undesirable situation allowed me to withdraw from having to have any part in maneuvering through it. I submitted control over to Rick. Sure, I still had to be part of the situation, and go through it; I couldn’t jump ship. I just had to sit and be still and trust in my husband for his expert driving abilities and his love and care for me, and our beloved friends who were with us in the back seat. (And to think that they still call us their friends is another whole devotion.)

Today, Solomon is encouraging us to trust in God’s ways to get us through all the storms of life. In a way, my glimpse of peace on Lombard St. is just a minuscule glimpse of the peace we can have in any and every situation, as we turn to God and know that, even if we want to jump ship and find the quickest way out, he will guide us through it and it will be good. So let’s stay focused on the Lord and his almighty, all knowing, all powerful ability to do what needs to be done in all our life’s situations. They are not too big for him. No, we may not want to be there at all, but if we have to go through it, let’s turn our thoughts to him.

May I encourage you to trust the Lord and don’t give in to the anxious thoughts that want to consume you, but continue to walk in his ways, take everything to him in prayer and continue to live in his love and his faithfulness, his joy and his peace. Then when this situation passes, continue to follow his ways in his commandments and bestow the fruits of the spirit to those around you. In the end, you can look back on your life and see how the edges of your life’s path may be rough and rocky at some points, but the centre is a straight and even pathway where God himself paved the way for your life with him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I don’t understand why I have to go through certain things or put up with certain people. My desire to control the situation or eliminate myself from the situation altogether by my own means, brings about more hurt and chaos. So I lift to you the situations of my life and ask that you help me to trust you in guiding me through them; that your will is done in my life and the lives of those around me. Give me peace to know that all is in your hands even when I don’t understand or can’t explain what’s happening. And to trust that, no matter what, you took care of the ultimate devastation of this life and won my salvation; this earthly death means eternity with you. Therefore, may I be as bold as David with the words, “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” (Psalm 25:15) In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 3:1-4

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 7

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

In Proverbs chapter 3, Solomon shares so many little nuggets of wisdom that are beneficial for our own well-being. As he mentions in verses 1 & 2, as you will soon read, remembering and keeping these teachings close to our hearts will guide us to having a long life here on earth, and bring us peace and prosperity while we endure these days. Oh doesn’t that sound wonderful?! Could it be so easy?

Let’s top up our coffees and dig in…

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

Proverbs 3:1-4

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;  bind them around your neck,  write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

Have you ever had your Character Colours done? This is different than getting your Clothing Colours done, which is based on the four seasons. With Character Colours, most people end up having most pronounced two of the four character traits that best describe them. The two that best describe me are Blue – people person, and Gold – organizer. The two other colours are Orange – go with the flow, and Green – inquisitive, likes to learn and always needs to know the answers to questions. I had it done when I started my teaching position, as did all the staff in my program, and it has served me well in understanding myself and my colleagues. For example, it is best to put a Gold person on a task that involves tidying up and organizing something, or a Green person when needing to find all the pros and cons around starting up new types of programs. Don’t expect from an Orange abilities that a Blue is more prone to exhibit, and visa versa.

In the same way that there are distinct personal character traits that each person exhibits, the traits that Solomon mention – love and faithfulness- should be actively displayed and evident in all people as we relate to others, especially in the lives of God’s children. What would it look like if we all reacted in love to all the people in our lives, and in faithfulness in all relationships and duties in our lives. What a beautiful world! …And who wouldn’t want a good name among their community?!

Yes, Solomon, I can see the truth in your words! But these traits of love and faithfulness are not necessarily traits that we, humans, desire to exhibit or have the ability to do due to our sinful nature. These traits oppose the sinful nature in which we are so comfortable. Many times we can use the excuse, “that’s just not in me,” or “that’s just not who I am.” Well, according to Solomon and the Lord, these traits are traits that all believers in Christ can exhibit and will exhibit. But take heart, it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit living in each of us that you or I can live in love, even when it takes us out of our comfort zone, or to be faithful even when it would be easier to give up and walk away. In fact, it is in these times of love and faithfulness where Christ and God’s grace shine the brightest.

So today and each day, call upon God to walk with you in his love God so that you can share that love with those who walk with you along your life’s path and to increase your faith and trust in him so that you can be faithful in all the commitments and responsibilities of your life as if fulfilling them for the Lord. In so doing, “your light [will] shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Then it will be that the words of Solomon will be fulfilled without out guilt or coercion, but in joy and peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Oh how I desire to be wise and walk in your ways of love and faithfulness. In some situations, it’s so easy to do, for whatever reason, but in other situations I cannot do it. But I know you can! So, I ask you to change my tough heart to your heart of love, my wayward faithfulness to your steadfast faithfulness, so that others may first see and know you through me, and that I can live in your peace and prosperity. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 2:16-22

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

I must say that I was really torn up over whether or not to include these verses with last week’s devotion and just gloss over them, or give them their own devotional time of reflection. Well as you can see, here they are on their own.

Ultimately, the reason I chose to give these words of Solomon their own time of reflection is because I feel they touch on a very important aspect of our society – marriage and the family unit. Let’s top up our coffees and dig into what Solomon has to say today…

Devotion 6

Proverbs 2:16-22

Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth  and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to deathand her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land,  and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

I heard a saying the other day: The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence; it’s greener where you water it. Isn’t it true though? Yet, how often do we get caught up in wishing we were on the other side of the fence.

Isn’t it easy to give up where the burden of life is the heaviest and least colourful- at home with all the ‘stuff’ – the budgeting, the working, the household responsibilities, the tension of living with another person and children. Married life can be hard. So not only is it easy to not want to deal with it, it can keep us from putting any effort for joyfulness into it with our spouse and children. In fact, in our minds, we can even clump them into all the ‘burdensome stuff’. Then to make things worse for ourselves, we enjoy the common interests and moments of attention by another. Those fluttering feelings, that seem to have drowned in the midst of responsibility, seem to come alive and thrive when away from the burdens of ‘home’. Do not be fooled. The responsibilities and burden of life will follow you, except with a wake of destruction and pain behind you, that will weigh you down even more so, as you enter the same burdens of life elsewhere. Yet how many souls get sucked into these temptations and lies, and perfectly healthy, burdened but normal and healthy, marriages and totally innocent children are torn apart. Oh how my heart aches for these souls and their families!

May Solomon’s words today be encouragement to keep your eyes on the commitment you made with God; the commitment you made with him to fulfill your marriage vows which require you to fulfill your duties to your spouse and children. To let go of the ‘things’ that are creating such burden and gloom at home, and the mentality that things are greener and brighter elsewhere or with someone else. Take the time to water the grass where you live, your own grass. Take time to create opportunities to rekindle the flames you felt when courting. Communicate your feelings of the things that are burdening you. Chances are your spouse is feeling the burden too. Nurture the blessings you have right in your own home, and enjoy life, working as one team with your spouse, not seeing nor treating them as the problem. Make a conscious effort to walk together on the path God has for you. A path that includes you, your partner and God walking hand in hand, through the not-so-green parts of life. By doing so, you will be watering your own grass. Even if there is greener grass around, your eyes will be fixed on watering, maintaining and enjoying your own, that you won’t even notice the other, and these actions, my friend, will be blessed. Finally, may you be encouraged with these closing words of Solomon:

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. (Ecclesiastes 9:7,9-10a)

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, life can be hard and filled with so many burdens and responsibilities. Desiring the temptations that would pull us away from the life we have committed to you through the vows of marriage and parenting can be so strong at times. Help me to nurture the loved ones you have blessed me with. Help me to make changes to the stuff in my life that may be burdening me and keeping me from caring for those souls that are the most important in my life. Help me to walk in your wisdom and strength. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 2:1-21

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

My husband and I have misplaced a car key, one of those fancy electronic, full-of-buttons keys that cost a mint. We have been searching and searching and searching for the darn thing.

Well this week’s devotion is certainly timely with the passion I have experienced in trying to find that key. Let’s top up our coffees and see where Solomon’s going this week…

Devotion 5

Proverbs 2:1-21

Moral Benefits of Wisdom

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdomand applying your heart to understanding—indeed,if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

Over the years, there have been so many reality shows on television whose whole premise is a person, or group of people, committed to finding something. The individuals in Gold Rush are committed to finding gold up north, and the people in the show The Curse of Oak Island are seeking an apparently lost treasure.  To these individuals, the obstacles they must overcome are worthy of their turmoil and danger, due to their desire to obtain their treasure. The slight glimpse of a clue that brings them closer to their treasure brings such great joy and celebration, even without actually obtaining their treasure. These people would give their lives for the search of their treasure. Have you ever desired to seek something with such passion, intensity and dedication?

Well, it is with such desirous qualities that Solomon is encouraging us to listen to his words, to search the scriptures to find God’s truth, and to be diligent and deliberate in applying such words as we continue chipping away at the roadblocks of our life’s journey. However, the difference with this treasure hunt is that we will, without a doubt, find the treasure. When we seek the Lord, his love, and his truth, he does not have us wander aimlessly abandoned, as if we are a dog chasing its tail. No! He promises to be there, he promises to answer. Even Jesus assures us of this:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ..Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 6:33, 7:7-8

No, our searching for this most precious treasure will not be in vain. We will be filled. He promises to send his Holy Spirit to guide us and to fill us in knowing him and his ways.  In all this, we then receive true wisdom and success. Not this world’s temporary sense of success or foolish wisdom. For God’s wisdom gives us peace and a sound mind in the midst of turmoil, even unto death. God’s success gives us contentment in any circumstance, “whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12b).. It guides our decisions and attitudes, and it draw us back to him and his word when we are in question or feeling lost. It gives us a behind-the-scene knowledge of foolish decisions in order to be discerning. It puts us in awe of his power and majesty which produces a great respect, fear and honour of our almighty God.

Therefore, may Solomon’s words encourage you to be diligent in your prayer and devotional time. May you be assured that it is benefitting you, more than the extra 30 minutes of sleep that may be tempting you. That in all your seeking of the Lord, he will be right by your side and you will be obtaining a treasure that is well worth the journey and out of this world!

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank-you for the words of encouragement and assurance that promises that seeking your truth and knowledge will change me: will produce in me a treasure and wisdom that is good and trustworthy. Please forgive me when I let other temptations draw me away from your word and life-giving, life-fulfilling promises. Please bestow your Holy Spirit upon me to guide me as you desire me draw nearer to you. I also ask your wisdom and truth, in these days, as I am faced with (add your own person struggles here). In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 1:20-33

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 4

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Have you ever experienced someone standing on a busy street corner yelling the law or gospel to anyone who would hear and listen? Well, perhaps this week’s visit with Solomon will give us a new appreciation for such callers. Let’s top up our coffees and check out what Solomon has to say next…

Proverbs 1:20-33

Wisdom’s Rebuke

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:  “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke!  Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;I will mock when calamity overtakes you, when calamity overtakes you like a storm,  when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,  when distress and trouble overwhelm you.“Then they will call to me but I will not answer;  they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways   and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

Can’t you just see it now: God’s wisdom, in the form of a person, standing on the corner of a downtown intersection calling out through a megaphone to anyone and everyone, pleading for them to heed her words, to turn from their wayward ways which will lead to disaster, to repent of having ignored her words, and come to heed the wisdom she has to offer and share without cost- a wisdom that will lead to safety and peace.

As a parent and grandparent, I can totally appreciate this analogy of God’s wisdom desiring to be heard and heeded. Oh how we long to have our children and grandchildren heed any life lessons we may have to sprinkle upon them. We desire to run behind them, yelling out our cautions and guidance. And when they don’t listen, and things don’t go well, oh how we desire to say, “I told you so.”  Yet, so many times nothing needs to be said. The wisdom once shared oozes around them as if to mock them, it releases that oh so familiar acquaintance named guilt and humility. Then, even if the wisdom once given is appreciated and desirous, consequences need to be endured; consequences that usually come with a heavier burden and greater sacrifice, than if wisdom was heeded initially. Yet not all is lost. In fact it may be at this point that wisdom may be sought. For when the burden is great and weariness from guilt has become part of us, isn’t that when Christ reaches out to us? He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Perhaps it’s at this point that we are ready to seek wisdom and life… ready to seek Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you have the words of life. Your words are wise unto salvation and good for my life. Guide me this week to seek your words and heed your wisdom. I desire to take my Saviour’s yoke upon me and to learn from him. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 1:10-19

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Today’s topic is one that many of us may say doesn’t apply to our lives, but upon closer look can find that it is a topic that we have found to be true by our experience… it’s the topic of seeking after ill-gotten gain. Let’s top up our coffee’s and see what Solomon has to say…

Devotion 3

Proverbs 1:10-19

My son, if sinful men entice you,  do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,  let’s ambush some harmless soul; let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into evil,  they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.

“Of course I would never be so deceptive or harmful. I could never fill my house with plunder of someone else. I would never lie in wait to shed someone’s blood.  This passage is certainly not talking about me.” …or is it?

So often we can read passages like this and think this refers to the big crimes. This is the passage that those individuals should have read before getting caught up in that robbery or murder or really big ‘no-no’. However, have you ever been tempted, or someone you know devised a little plan, to take a few items from the office, or that really nice glass with the restaurant’s name etched in it or perhaps a couple friends start making fun quietly as a passerby goes by because they have a limp or just simply look different in some way, and you join in the joking, the bullying.

It is so easy to get caught up in the moment and the seemingly harmless silliness or the quiet desire of greed. I know. I’ve been there. It’s so easy to follow along and it really isn’t meant as something extravagantly evil. In any case, it is a path of ill-gotten gain. It negatively affects the victim from whom we’ve gained, and it will negatively, should negatively, affect our life.

However, it’s these thoughts of innocent, fun loving play, or self-gratification that the devious individuals, that satan, or that our sinful selves would have us believe. It’s the lie used to draw us into the lie of a better life and self-fulfillment when in reality it draws us to disgrace, regret, self-loathing, and death. It is in these things and the temptations of these people, satan and our sinful-self that Solomon is warning us against. He is warning us to stand strong against them and to walk away and to have nothing to do with them. For although in our minds they will seemingly give us all this wonderful glory and possession, in reality they are a life-sucking burden of guilt and regret. Do not be fooled.

So let us keep our eyes on the path that Christ has for us. To know the truths of what lay behind these seemingly gloriously harmless, but empty facades. Repent of those times you have given in, for our gracious Lord will forgive and renew you. Then, with his help, do not sway by such temptations to take another path, but stay focused on his path ahead.  Enjoy your days with those who would encourage you in your faith walk and guide you when you feel tempted to stray, and in the same way you should encourage them. Be wise, live wise!

Prayer: Dear Lord, there are so many sinful desires that would draw us into attaining ill-gotten gain. Forgive me all those times that I have given in to such desires and help me to overcome my selfish greed by keeping my eyes on you and seeking your help when I am tempted next- and I know there will be a next time this side of heaven. Help me to be discerning and wise in all my decisions and interactions. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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